Former Top Biden Cabinet Pick Settles With Staffer Who Accused Her Of Grabbing His Crotch

By Mary Margaret Olohan

One of President Joe Biden’s former top cabinet candidates reportedly paid at least $62,500 in settlement to a former staffer who accused her of grabbing his crotch during a staff meeting.

Court documents show that Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent five monthly payments of $12,500 to a law firm representing her former spokesman James Hallinan, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Hallinan worked for Lujan Grisham during her 2018 general election campaign, according to the publication.

Biden had formerly considered Lujan Grisham to potentially lead the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, but ultimately chose California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the department.

In late 2019, Hallinan accused Lujan Grisham of pouring water on his crotch, in front of other campaign staffers, and grabbing his crotch through his clothes while she laughed, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The former staffer also said that Lujan Grisham’s former campaign manager and now senior adviser Dominic Gabello talked Hallinan out of reporting the incident at the time.

Lujan Grisham’s campaign filed a finance report late Monday night with the Secretary of State’s Office and listed the payments as legal expenses, the publication reported, noting that it is unclear how many future payments are part of the settlement.

Lujan Grisham spokesman Jarod Leopold told the Albuquerque Journal Monday that the payments are part of a settlement involving “numerous dubious and disputed potential claims made by Mr. Hallinan arising from his employment in 2018 with the campaign organization and his subsequent search for employment.”

Leopold “strenuously” denied “that there is any merit or truth to Mr. Hallinan’s claims, including his claims about difficulty finding or keeping work after the campaign,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.

“They reached a settlement in order to avoid the continuing distraction and significant expense of possible litigation and allow them to concentrate on working for the people of New Mexico during this pandemic,” he added.

Hallinan’s attorney Rachel Berlin Benjamin told the publication Monday that the governor and Hallinan “have resolved any differences or issues to their satisfaction.”

Lujan Grisham’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Author: Mary Margaret Olohan

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