Monterey County prosecutors open probe into Tara Reade’s prior testimony

Prosecutors in Monterey County, California have launched a formal investigation into Tara Reade, the woman who recently accused presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former senator Joe Biden of sexual assault.

Reade, who also went by the name Alexandra McCabe, offered expert testimony in dozens of criminal cases as a special victim’s advocate, according to numerous reports.

But some of her sworn testimony has come under fire following investigations by CNN and other news outlets that show inconsistencies in her education and employment background.

Reade made international headlines earlier this year after accusing Biden of sexual assault while she worked as an employee of the senator’s office in the early 1990s (Biden has denied the accusation). Years later, Reade found herself in Washington state where she claimed she graduated from Antioch University in Seattle with an Associate’s Degree and received a law degree from Seattle University.

Reade offered that part of her education history under oath in numerous cases brought by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, some of which resulted in criminal convictions. But reporters who contacted Antioch University to confirm her education history were told she never graduated from the school.

Reade also misconstrued the nature of her work in Sen. Biden’s office, according to one report, testifying under oath that she worked as a legislative assistant when she was actually a staff assistant, according to employment records obtained by the New York Times. And in one 2018 case, Reade said she had not taken the California bar exam, even though blog posts written by her several years earlier said she twice failed the exam.

Prosecutors are now going through cases dating back several years to see if Reade intentionally lied while on the stand, according to POLITICO. An official with the prosecutor’s office said it’s unclear how many cases Reade testified in because the county doesn’t have a way to sort through cases digitally.

“We have no database or search engine to use to determine how many cases she testified,” Berkley Brannon, the county’s chief assistant district attorney, told POLITICO.

If Reade is found to have exaggerated her qualifications on the stand, it could be grounds for a reversal of some criminal convictions, Sacramento criminal defense attorney Mark Reichel told the New York Times last week.

“An expert can only testify in certain circumstances,” Mark said. “One of them is that they have expertise above the regular person. The jury is entitled to hear your qualifications.”

Monterey County probes Hobby Lobby over compliance with coronavirus orders

Prosecutors in Monterey County opened an investigation into craft retailer Hobby Lobby this week after receiving a complaint that the business was not complying with county and statewide shelter-in-place orders enacted during the coronavirus pandemic.

The exact complaint submitted to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office is unclear, but it was enough to probe whether Hobby Lobby was in compliance with a section of the California Business and Professions Code that dealt with unfair and deceptive business practices.

The outcome of the investigation skewed in favor of Hobby Lobby after officials with the District Attorney’s office determined the retailer to be an “essential business” as defined by county and state proclamations issued in mid-March.

In a press release, the District Attorney’s office says Hobby Lobby sells cloth and fabrics that can be used by customers to make face masks and other personal protective equipment. That equipment has been promoted by health officials as being effective against the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Other businesses that are allowed to remain open include those that sell equipment needed for work-from-home environments and specific mixed-retail businesses that sell “non-essential” products, the District Attorney’s office said.

After the investigation against Hobby Lobby was launched, customers told local news station KSBW-TV that a store manager limited purchases to “essential” supplies only.