Biden Accuser Accused of Inflating Credentials to Qualify as Expert Witness, Calling Convictions into Question
Tara Reade, who has accused presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993 when she worked for him as an aide, now faces accusations that she inflated her academic credentials to win certification as a prosecution expert witness on domestic violence in several criminal proceedings in Monterrey County, California. That county’s public defender has promised to investigate those charges and a list of clients who might have been affected is being compiled.
Questions about Reade’s credentials include whether she received an undergraduate degree at Antioch University in Washington state. A spokesman for the university said that although Reade attended classes, she received no degree, which Reade disputes. Reade later earned a law degree from Seattle University.
On May 21, 2020, Reade’s lead attorney, Douglas H. Wigdor, known for his vigorous advocacy of victims of sexual assault, further complicated the situation when he withdrew from representing her, without providing reasons for the move, stating the move was, “by no means a reflection on whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted Ms. Reade. Much of what has been written about Reade is not probative of whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted her, but rather is intended to victim-shame and attack her credibility on unrelated and irrelevant matters.” It is not unusual for lawyers to withdraw from client representation for a variety of reasons.
Defense attorneys, even before this development, had questioned Reade’s expert credentials in court proceedings. One, Roland Soltesz, said that his client, Victoria Ramirez, and a co-defendant were convicted largely as a result of Reade’s testimony, and he complained that “People have been convicted based upon this [testimony] and that’s wrong.”
According to Mark J. Reichel, a Sacramento-based criminal defense attorney, “An expert can only testify in certain circumstances. One of them is that they have expertise above the regular person. The jury is entitled to hear your qualifications.”
The Monterey County Public Defender’s Office, according to Jeremy Dzubay, an assistant public defender, is reviewing cases in which Reade’s court testimony might have tipped the scales against one of their clients. If it is found that she misrepresented her credentials, the credibility of her testimony in many criminal proceedings could be cited as grounds for vacating those convictions and set the stage for new trials.