Joe Biden accuser’s credentials, expert testimony under scrutiny by Monterey County DA

By MARYCLAIRE DALE | The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — State prosecutors in California are
investigating the credentials that Tara Reade, the former Senate
staffer who has accused Joe Biden of assaulting her in 1993,
attested to in as many as 20 criminal trials, including an
attempted murder case where her testimony was deemed
“critical.”

The Monterey County District Attorney’s office said it never
tried to verify the credentials on her resume before using her as a
paid expert witness on domestic violence issues. Reade, who went by
Alexandra Tara McCabe, made several claims on her resume and in
court that have now come into question.

Reade said she had a bachelor’s degree from Antioch
University, which the school denies. She said she worked in
Biden’s office from 1991 to 1994, while Senate records show her
there from December 1992 to August 1993. And she said she served as
legislative aide for Biden while he worked on the Violence Against
Women Act, while witnesses and records describe her holding a more
junior role, sometimes supervising interns or handling mail.

“We are investigating whether Ms. McCabe gave false testimony
under oath,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Berkley Brannon of
Monterey County said Wednesday.

“At the time, we did not contact the schools she said she
attended to see if they would disclose her records. We did not
require that she provide proof of all the extensive professional
training and experience listed on her CV (curriculum vitae),”
Brannon told The Associated Press in an email.

Defense lawyers are also investigating her testimony, hoping to
glean the extent of her work through county payment records.
Brannon said it was not yet clear how often she gave expert
testimony.

Reade, testifying in December 2018, said: “I was just doing
the math. It’s been over 20 times.” A month later, before the
same judge and prosecutor, she said the number was “I think at
least 10.”

Defense lawyers could seek to have their clients’ convictions
overturned in some or all of those cases, depending on the weight
of the other evidence. The statute of limitations for perjury in
California is three years, they said.

In the December 2018 case, Reade’s testimony helped send
Jennifer Vasquez and Victoria Ramirez to prison for seven years to
life in an arson and attempted murder case. The victim, a man, had
been in a volatile relationship with Vasquez. He initially told
police he saw two women running from the scene, but days later
recanted, saying he had instead seen two men, defense lawyers
said.

“She comes to court and says he’s probably lying (the second
time) because it was a domestic violence situation,” said Roland
Soltesz, who represented Ramirez. “When she started testifying,
she immediately started talking about Joe Biden and the Violence
Against Women Act. To me, that actually made her sound credible to
the jury.”

A month later, after James Sloop, 41, was convicted of holding
his ex-girlfriend against her will, prosecutors sent out a press
release that said McCabe, “a domestic violence expert, provided
critical testimony which aided the jury’s understanding as to why
victims of domestic violence recant, minimize, and frequently stay
in abusive relationships.”

Sloop is appealing the conviction, which led to a 17-year
sentence on a firearm charge and other charges.

In both trials, the defense lawyers questioned Reade about her
education and experience.

“Well, I worked originally for former U.S. Senator Joseph
Biden as a legislative aide. He worked on the Violence Against
Women Act. He was one of the sponsors,” Reade testified at
Sloop’s trial.

“Do you have an undergraduate degree?”

“Antioch University,” she replied, according to the
transcript, which the AP obtained.

Reade this month has continued to challenge Antioch’s
statement that she never finished a degree program there. However,
she has not been able to produce any documentation. She did
complete a law degree from the Seattle University in 2004, but said
she never became licensed to practice law.

Reade, 56, changed her name to Alexandra McCabe after fleeting
an abusive husband in 1996. She later returned to using Reade. Her
career experience includes several stints working with domestic
violence organizations, along with work with animal rescue
groups.

“I have reached out to the DA and I am ready to assist anyway
that is needed,” Reade said Wednesday.

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Reade earlier this year said that Biden digitally penetrated her
and groped her in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in
spring 1993. Biden has vehemently denied her claims, and current
and former Biden staffers say they cannot recall such an incident.
Last week, as questions about her California court testimony
emerged, prominent #MeToo lawyer Douglas Wigdor dropped Reade as a
client.

Philadelphia defense lawyer Alan Tauber, who has worked on
exoneration cases, said questions about an expert’s
qualifications can be “enough to stain a case.”

“The assumption is if you have an expert here, they’ve been
vetted,” said Tauber, now the city’s first assistant public
defender. “If you were to find one dishonest thing in her
credentials, the entire house of cards falls.”

___ Associated Press reporter Alexandra Jaffe contributed to
this report from Washington.

Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
Joe Biden accuser’s credentials, expert testimony under
scrutiny by Monterey County DA