An American former staffer who accused Joe Biden of sexual assault has defected to Moscow and is seeking Russian citizenship, sparking a bitter dispute involving the staffer’s sexual accusation.
Tara Reade, 59, a former Senate staffer and former assistant to Joe Biden, has announced that she has moved to Russia after receiving threats in the United States. Reade made headlines during the 2020 presidential campaign by accusing then-candidate Biden of sexually harassing and assaulting her in Delaware in 1993 when he was a state senator. In interviews, she described the incident, claiming that Biden assaulted and coerced her in a hallway. Reade submitted a criminal complaint in April 2020 but did not name Biden because the statute of limitations had expired and she feared for her safety because of online threats.
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Reade was one of eight women who accused Biden of inappropriate touching, hugging, or kissing in 2019, though none at the time described his actions as sexual assault.
In response, Biden had denied a former aide’s allegation of sexual assault.
Reade seeks Russian citizenship after “life threats”
In 2023, Tara Reade resurfaced in the news after Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election announcement, reiterating her accusations and indicating her willingness to testify before the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. She recently announced her departure from the United States mentioning that a Republican politician informed her that she was in physical danger.
“When I got off the plane in Moscow, for the first time in a very long time I felt safe, and I felt heard and felt respected,” The Guardian newspaper quotes Reade as saying during an interview with Sputnik.
“[I’d] like to apply for citizenship in Russia, from the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin… I do promise to be a good citizen,” Reade said, adding that she hoped to keep her US citizenship.
How Reade had faced harsh backlash after the assault claims?
Reade had confronted her own credibility issues, including questions about her education and other credentials while claiming Biden assaulted her. She also claimed she faced severe persecution in the United States after claiming Biden sexually assaulted her.
Several reports had cast doubt on Reade’s credibility and the veracity of her assault allegation. In addition, the New York Times reported that no former Biden personnel could corroborate the specifics of her assault claim. The university contradicted Reade’s claim of having a college degree from Antioch University by stating she did not graduate or serve as a faculty member there, which was a major setback for her at the time.
Politico reported that former acquaintances of Reade accused her of financial and manipulation issues. Reade asserted that media investigations into her credibility were part of a campaign to tarnish her reputation.
After the credibility concerns were raised, her attorney, Douglas Wigdor, also dropped her as a client without explanation amid prosecution.
What went wrong for Reade, and how it was different from Jean Carroll’s case?
Just last month, a verdict of an allegation of sexual assault was put against former President Donald Trump. The nature of the allegation was as same as Reade’s one.
E. Jean Carroll, a writer, sued former President Donald Trump for defamation in 2019, alleging that he raped her in the 1990s. In the recent civil trial, a federal jury in Manhattan found Trump liable for battery and defamation, awarding Carroll $5 million in damages. The jury concluded that while Carroll proved Trump committed battery against her, they did not find sufficient evidence to support her claim of rape.
To establish defamation, the jury had to determine that Trump knew his statement about Carroll was false, exposed her to public ridicule, and made the statement with actual malice. The jury unanimously reached a verdict on both claims. Trump did not attend the trial, and his video deposition, in which he denied the rape allegation, was played for the jury. Carroll’s lawyers had argued that Trump’s absence from the court had indicated his culpability.
Witness testimony from Carroll, as well as other women who accused Trump of misconduct, was presented to show a pattern of aggressive behavior. Expert witnesses had testified about the impact of Trump’s statement on Carroll’s reputation which had solidified the claims.
In Carroll’s case, the media was seen to play a much bigger role than Reade’s, and her personal life was not dissected which to some extent biases the public’s view. Perhaps, that did not hold Reade in a favorable position. As both the cases’ plots are very old and claims were made after almost two decades, it was not easy to gather evidence or testimonies for any parties.
Moreover, no one apart from Reade had made a rape allegation against Biden which could use as a testimony for Reade. Although, supporters had said that Reade’s allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Joe Biden were mishandled by the media, resulting in her reputation being attacked and her life being disrupted. She has faced harassment and smears on social media, and her personal life had been invaded and dissected. Journalists who reported her claims prioritized their own agenda over supporting survivors.
Many had claimed that Reade’s personality had nothing to do with whether she was sexually assaulted, and her enemies’ assessment of her character could not clear Biden’s name; only facts can do that.
Additionally, the political actors involved in her case had allegedly exploited her story for their own agendas, undermining her credibility.
Actually, Reade’s timing and the political usefulness of her accusations had likely raised doubts about her motives. Although there were allegations, but no solid evidence and call for a thorough investigation, which complicated the scene for Reade leaving the question of she was just an accuser or a genuine victim.