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The Hill: Lawyer Offered Cash to Trump Accusers

Jason Devaney

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Image: The Hill: Lawyer Offered Cash to Trump Accusers
Lisa Bloom (Jae C. Hong/AP)

The high-profile lawyer who has represented several women in sexual harassment and assault cases sought money for her clients from donors, media companies, and political action committees as they wrestled with the idea of going public with accusations against President Donald Trump, it was reported Friday.

The Hill confirmed that Lisa Bloom tried to secure cash for at least two women who said Trump harassed them. One of the accusers asked for as much as $2 million but was eventually offered $750,000 after much negotiation. She declined the money and never came forward.

Another woman who did come forward, New York City makeup artist Jill Harth, received help from Bloom in the form of a GoFundMe effort that netted $2,300 and having her mortgage paid off. The latter, according to The Hill, was less than $30,000.

The Hill obtained copies of text messages that show Bloom offered to raise money for the women. And Bloom also promised to try to sell their stories to tabloid media outlets, of which she would get a 33 percent cut. There were also mentions of securing appearances on TV shows like "Inside Edition" and "Dr. Phil."

Bloom herself responded with a lengthy statement to the news outlet. She defended the practice of offering — and giving — cash to her clients, saying it was in the name of security and protecting their names.

Bloom said one woman who ultimately decided not to come forward "asked to be compensated, citing concerns for her safety and security and over time, increased her request for financial compensation to $2 million, which we told her was a non-starter. We did relay her security concerns to donors, but none were willing to offer more than a number in the low six figures, which they felt was more appropriate to address her security and relocation expenses."

The civil rights lawyer noted that The Bloom Firm did not have communications with Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign. Messages obtained by The Hill, however, show she referenced contacts with and offers of money from a pro-Clinton political action committee.

"Your questions seem to imply that we were trying to use the prospect of donor funds to entice women to come forward against their will. Nothing can be further from the truth," Bloom told The Hill. "Some clients asked for small photo licensing fees while others wanted more to protect their security."

Highlights from messages between Bloom and the woman who turned down the $750,000, a friend of Harth:

  • Bloom originally offered to donate $10,000 to the woman's church in her name, but asked that it be kept confidential.
  • On several occasions, Bloom texted the woman with updates on how much money she was able to secure for her. "Call me I have good news," Bloom wrote five days before the presidential election.
  • The woman then turned down an offer of $100,000, saying she needed more money. "College money [for her daughter] would be nice … Plus relocation fees, as we discussed."
  • The woman was then hospitalized in the days before the election. Her friends texted Bloom and suggested she leave her alone, but Bloom jumped on a flight to the east coast to visit the woman to see if she wanted to come forward. Over the following few days — immediately before the election — the woman backed out on coming forward, which seemed to anger Bloom. The pair later met in a hotel restaurant on Nov. 6 and Bloom upped the offer to $750,000, which the woman turned down.

Bloom, the daughter of civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, has represented several women over the years who have accused high-profile men of sexual misconduct. She also represented Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein until it became public that several women had accused him of sexual harassment and assault. She then severed ties with him.

Multiple women have accused Trump of sexual harassment, charges he flatly denies.