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Andrew Puzder: Allegations of abuse in his first marriage have dogged the nominee.
The ex-wife of Andrew Puzder, Donald's Trump's nominee as Secretary of Labor, didn't just allege that he abused her in divorce filings. She also, apparently, made the charges — incognito — on Oprah
That's the latest from Politico
, which reported on the TV appearance yesterday.
The site reports that Lisa Henning, now Lisa Fierstein, took unusual steps to conceal her identity:
Fierstein appeared on the show in a wig and glasses, and was identified only by the made-up name of Ann. Multiple sources, including George Thompson, a spokesman for Puzder and Fierstein, confirmed the appearance. Fierstein did not mention Puzder by name, but a friend of hers who previously worked for her told POLITICO that Fierstein made clear to her that the allegations she made on the program concerned Puzder.
The appearance adds a new wrinkle in the allegations against Puzder, who was an anti-abortion crusader in St. Louis prior to becoming the CEO of Carl's Jr.
As the RFT first reported in a July 1989 cover story
, Puzder's ex-wife alleged abuse as part of their divorce filing, with court documents detailing her claims.
But when the RFT reminded people of the claims in December
, Puzder's spokesman was quick to bat down to the old allegations. He produced an email from Puzder's ex-wife, Fierstein (identified in our story under her old name, Lisa Henning) saying she'd only made the allegations as a legal tactic — and regretted making the claims.
"I impulsively filed for a divorce without your knowledge and was counseled then to file an allegation of abuse," Henning wrote in the email, dated November 2016. "I regretted and still regret that decision and I withdrew those allegations over thirty years ago. You were not abusive."
Still, our 1989 story contained some information suggesting the claims were more than just a pushy lawyer: Puzder had acknowledged in a deposition that police were twice called to the couple's home. And Henning's lawyer, Daniel Sokol, was quoted as saying he believed her. "I handle 150 domestic relations cases a year. I thought her story was not only credible but true. I would not pursue a cause of action on behalf of a client unless I believed it."
allegations suggest that Henning wanted to tell a story of abuse publicly — to the point of wearing a wig and taking on a fake name.
It's not clear what, if anything, has changed since — or whether it will affect Puzder's nomination. “I can’t imagine a single organization that cares about women that would not vigorously oppose him,” Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, told Politico.
Winfrey's company tells Politico it can't find a tape of the episode in question.
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