Alaska at­tor­ney ac­cuses high court jus­tice of grop­ing in 1999

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By David G. Sav­age

WASH­ING­TON — Al­le­ga­tions that GOP nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump groped nu­mer­ous women have prompted an Alaska at­tor­ney to go pub­lic with a claim that she was briefly grabbed at a 1999 din­ner party by Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas.

Moira Smith, then 23 and a Tru­man Foun­da­tion scholar in Wash­ing­ton, said she was in­vited to a din­ner party with more than a Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas calls the ac­cu­sa­tion “pre­pos­ter­ous.” dozen oth­ers, in­clud­ing Thomas.

“I was so in­cred­i­bly ex­cited to meet him, rough con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings not- with­stand­ing,” she wrote on her Face­book page this month. “He was charm­ing in many ways, gi­ant, boom­ing laugh, charis­matic and ap­proach­able. But to my com­plete shock, he groped me while I was set­ting the ta­ble, sug­gest­ing I should sit ‘right next to him.’ ”

Smith told the Na­tional Law Jour­nal that she was briefly alone with Thomas.

“I was set­ting the place to his right when he reached out, sort of cupped his hand around my butt and pulled me close to him,” Smith said. “He said, ‘Where are you sit­ting?’ and gave me a squeeze.”

Smith said she replied that the host had as­signed her a seat at an­other ta­ble. “He one more t i me squeezed my butt, and he said, ‘Are you sure?’ I said yes, and that was the end of it.”

Thomas, who is mark­ing the 25th an­niver­sary of his join­ing the high court, is­sued a state­ment in re­sponse say­ing, “This claim is pre­pos­ter­ous, and it never hap­pened.”

Thomas’ 1991 con­fir­ma­tion was nearly de­railed by al­le­ga­tions from at­tor­ney Anita Hill that he sex­u­ally ha­rassed her when they worked to­gether at the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion.

Louis Blair, who was then head of the Tru­man Foun­da­tion and host­ing the din­ner at his home in Vir­ginia, told the jour­nal he had not seen or heard of Smith’s al­le­ga­tion. He said he was busy in the kitchen pre­par­ing the din­ner and that he was “skep­ti­cal that the jus­tice and Moira would have been alone.”

Smith is a vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral coun­sel for En­star Nat­u­ral Gas Co. Her hus­band, Jake Metcalfe, was for­merly the chair­man of the Alaska Demo­cratic Party.

“We now know that many men in power take ad­van­tage of vul­ner­a­ble women,” Smith said in the Na­tional Law Jour­nal in­ter­view.

MICHAEL DWYER/AP 2012

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