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With alleged sexual assault claims, exact words can make a difference | READER COMMENTARY

Tara Reade, who worked for former Vice President Joe Biden as an aide in his Senate office in the early 1990s, April 11, 2020.
Tara Reade, who worked for former Vice President Joe Biden as an aide in his Senate office in the early 1990s, April 11, 2020. (Max Whittaker/The New York Times)

I have had the opportunity and honor to practice criminal law for more than 39 years in Maryland. I initially worked as a prosecutor for six years and transitioned to criminal defense for 33 years and still going. For the last few weeks, I have perused many articles, editorials and columns with regard to the allegations of a sexual assault claimed by Tara Reade against Joe Biden (“Citing confidentiality, Senate secretary declines to release any potential documents on Tara Reade complaint against Joe Biden,” May 4). As a prosecutor in felony cases and when preparing for trial, many times I found that a relatively innocuous declaration or circumstance could have significant impact on proving a case. I’d refer to these as a “twists in the case” that were small but probative.

What surprises me about the coverage of this allegation against Mr. Biden is that only once have I seen a reference to what he allegedly said to Ms. Reade when he had her against the wall and she was rebuffing his advances. She recalls that he said, “Hey man, I heard you liked me.” I find this to be overwhelmingly significant. Mr. Biden has a casual nature about him with regard to phraseology. Such expressions as “Hey, pal, how you doin’” and “Hey, man, good to see you” are commonplace in his diction.

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Did Ms. Reade make up this language to have it sound like Mr. Biden if, in fact, he did not use the aforementioned words near the end of the alleged assault? Or did he say these words as reported? Small things count in the prosecution of criminal cases. Many times “twists” shed as much light in a case as hours of investigation and preparation do.

David Moore, Salisbury

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