Friday, January 23, 2009

Cowardly Move: Kent Williams Lawyers Up on Sexual Harassment Claims

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 5:50 AM

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You've seen this move 1,000 times. Big shot exec/politician/celebrity is accused of doing something untoward. He appears before the cameras, vigorously offering a blanket denial, but claiming he can't answer questions, can't provide details, because some unnamed lawyer says so. It's the vaunted Rule of Law, you know. He even tries to make his stonewalling sound noble, as if he is somehow bigger, legally speaking, than the lowlifes casting these insidious aspersions.

Nine times out of 10, it's unadultered bullshit. And if we asked Vegas, I'm guessing the smart money would bet that Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams is well outside the margin of error with his defense against sexual harassment claims.

Williams stands accused of approaching Rep. Susan Lynn in the legislative garage and telling her, "I will give a week's pay just to see you naked." Rep. Debra Maggart says he leered at her breasts in the same garage.

Who knows if it's true? Republicans waited two years to secret the claims to reporters--and only after Williams turned against them. So much for family values. Then again, it's perfectly common for sexual harassment claims to rise long after the incident occurred. Victims are usually reluctant for this kind of attention.

But from the way Williams is hiding, I'm guessing he's guilty. Very guilty...

To be accused of being a pervert is no small thing. Your wife and kids are embarrassed. Women look at you with a sense of contempt. Even friends are reluctant to bring their daughters near. So if you're innocent, you're going to make your case as loudly and as thoroughly as you can. No pointy-head lawyer is going to stop you. For this is a fight much bigger than law. It's about honor.

But all Williams can say is some variation of this: "I've been told by our legal staff that I'm not allowed. I'm prohibited to talk about it."

Translation: "I got nothing. Please don't notice that I'm cowering behind some lawyers."

Williams may have done the work of the saints in outsmarting that batch of crazy that is the Mumpower Faction. But in the end, we traded a nut for a pervert. And given the state of the Tennessee House, the pervert is actually an upgrade.

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