News and Commentary

Democratic Senator Brown Accused Of Sexual Misconduct In ’80s, Calls It ‘Character Assassination’

This sounds vaguely familiar.

In what Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is decrying as nothing less than “character assassination,” Republican senate candidate Rep. Jim Renacci’s campaign issued a news release late Thursday detailing the unsubstantiated allegations of an unnamed woman who said that Brown made an “an unexpected, uninvited, unwanted, and sudden advance” on her, “roughly pushing her up against a wall” in the late-1980s.

The Renacci campaign news release features a statement from attorney Laura Mills, who is a supporter and former business partner of the congressman, who said she was put into contact with the unnamed accuser by a friend. Like the accusations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the allegation against Brown includes no date, location, or corroborating evidence. And, like the first allegations against Kavanaugh, the accuser is described as “very credible” and a “professional woman.” Below is Mills’ summary of the accuser’s claims:

She met Sherrod Brown in the course of her work and had occasion to be briefly alone with him, but not on a date. She told a friend in confidence about her unwanted and unexpected experience in the late 80’s. This was months ago, shortly after the MeToo movement began, and the reason she told her friend was to explain why she believed many of the women, as something unwanted had happened to her with a prominent politician. She had no intention of coming forward and did not know that the friend would later contact Jim Renacci with it. When she did, he referred her to discuss the experience with me.

This encounter happened after his divorce. She described an unexpected, uninvited, unwanted, and sudden advance, roughly pushing her up against a wall. It did stop after she expressed dismay and very firmly pulled away, explaining that was not her style nor why she was there. He then said he remembered what she had on the day they had met some time earlier and that he had been attracted to her. Although she was able to defuse the situation, it did shake her up and she told friends about it as soon as she got home. They wanted her to report it but she chose not to do so because it did stop. She has also told a few other people over the years about what a shock it was, but did not intend to ever bring it forward recently other than to let friends know this is why she believed many other women’s stories about similar experiences. And also it happened a very long time ago. She is only allowing this statement because the current news coverage does not have all the facts yet, and she wants to correct the record. reports that Renacci’s release “comes a day after Renacci told reporters and editors with the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’d heard from ‘multiple women’ with abuse allegations against Brown, while providing no additional details or supporting evidence.”

After slamming Brown repeatedly for a “nasty” 1986 divorce over the last few weeks, Renacci told a West Virginia radio station Thursday that he’s had “a couple of people contact the office” with allegations against Brown, which he stressed were “uncorroborated.” The claims against Brown, including by his ex-wife, argues Renacci, demonstrate a double standard from the Democrats and their allies in the media. The candidate told the stations that he turned over the allegations to an attorney, which turned out to be Mills.

The Brown campaign has fired back, releasing a cease-and-desist letter that Brown’s lawyer Marc Elias sent to Renacci earlier that day in response to his vague abuse accusations. The statement by Mills, said Brown campaign spokeswoman Preston Maddock in a statement late Thursday, is part of a smear campaign by the “failed and desperate candidate”:

Just hours after a cease and desist was sent to Jim Renacci informing him that if he chose to continue making unsubstantiated and false claims about something that never happened he would face legal ramifications, now Jim Renacci’s former business partner and friend, in coordination with Renacci’s campaign, has put out a statement with nothing more than further anonymous and unsubstantiated claims. Pure and simple this is character assassination by a failed and desperate candidate who every day reaches new lows. This will not be tolerated, all legal means will be pursued against Jim Renacci.

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