Tony Cardenas: Sexual abuse case against US politician mysteriously dropped

‘I’m still a victim’

Eli Rosenberg
Thursday 04 July 2019 10:46
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28-year-old dropped a lawsuit over historical sexual abuse despite saying 'I'm still a victim'
28-year-old dropped a lawsuit over historical sexual abuse despite saying 'I'm still a victim'

A woman who accused California Democrat Tony Cárdenas, of sexually abusing her as a 16-year-old has dropped her lawsuit against the congressman.

The 28-year-old, Angela Chavez, agreed to drop her case on Tuesday in exchange for an agreement from Mr Cárdenas that he would not sue her for anything related to the lawsuit she brought, lawyers said.

The case collapsed under somewhat unknown circumstances.

In an email, Lisa Bloom, a prominent women’s rights lawyer who was representing the 28-year-old, told The Washington Post that her firm filed a motion to withdraw two months ago, based on attorney ethics rules.

She declined to comment on which rules the firm was adhering to.

Court filings do little to shed light on the case. Lawyers with the Bloom Firm noted in multiple rulings they were required to withdraw from the case under rules about professional conduct.

“We also believe we are not permitted to disclose, at least in these moving papers, which Rule of Professional Conduct requires our withdrawal nor can we disclose any other information out of concern for protecting our client,” one lawyer, Vernon Ellicott, wrote in a court filing.

Another exhibit included in a filing noted that three lawyers working on the case had recently left the Bloom Firm.

In a brief phone interview, Ms Chavez also declined to comment on the specifics of the case.

“I’m still a victim and I just wish I would have chose better representation than I did,” she said.

Mr Cárdenas was not named in the initial complaint in the lawsuit, which was filed in April 2018, because under California law, the names of defendants in child sex abuse cases cannot be disclosed without court approval.

The case alleged that “John Doe” met the woman, then 14, at a golf tournament and became a friend of her and her family’s.

Two years later, the lawsuit alleged, he fondled her breasts and genitals while driving her to the emergency room after the two played golf at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles.

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The woman claimed she “collapsed to the ground” during the golf game after John Doe gave her a cup of ice water that tasted off, the lawsuit stated.

Mr Cárdenas denied the allegations at the time, with his lawyer, Patricia Glaser calling them baseless and reckless. He was soundly re-elected to his district north of Los Angeles in November.

“Once in a while with one of these ‘#MeToo’ cases, the defendant is vindicated,” Ms Glaser told The Washington Post on Wednesday.

“And this is one of the few that this happened. Tony gets points for saying I’m not paying on this one, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Washington Post

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