Whitman Denies Knowing Maid Was In U.S. Illegally

In California, the GOP candidate for governor, Meg Whitman, answers accusations that she knowingly kept an illegal immigrant employed as her housekeeper. Whitman denies it, while attorney Gloria Allred — who represents the former housekeeper — introduces a letter that she claims proves Whitman is lying.

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In Californias race for governor, the Republican candidate is denying for the second straight day that she knew her former maid was an illegal immigrant. Meg Whitman says the charges are part of a political smear launched by a lawyer who supports her opponent. Today, that lawyer introduced a litter she claims is proof Whitman is lying.

NPRs Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN: Just when did Meg Whitman find out her former maid was an illegal immigrant? Whitman says it was 2009, just months after she launched her gubernatorial campaign. Whitman says thats when her maid, Nicki Diaz(ph), came to her and admitted it.

MEG WHITMAN (Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, California): We were stunned when Nicki told us that she was illegal. I mean, here this woman had worked for me for nine years. We had seen the documentation. We had been so careful, we went through an agency.

KAHN: Whitman says the minute Diaz admitted she was working illegally, she fired her. The Whitman campaign has showed off the California drivers license and Social Security card Diaz provided to gain employment.

But Diaz attorney Gloria Allred says Whitman shouldve known as far back as 2003. Thats when the Social Security administration sent Whitman a letter alerting her that the maids Social Security number was probably false.

Allred had a copy of the letter blown up into a poster. In the bottom corner, a hand-written note which Allred claims was written by Whitmans husband. It asks the maid to look into the matter.

GLORIA ALLRED (Attorney): Meg Whitman is exposed as a liar and a hypocrite. She should now apologize to Nicki, the press and the public for her blatant lie.

KAHN: Whitman insists she never saw the letter and said it was very possible the maid intercepted it, since it was part of her duties to collect the mail. Whitman says the illegal maid flap is just a desperate last minute political stunt by her opponent Jerry Brown and attorney Gloria Allred, who is a well known Democratic supporter.

In fact, Allred sprung a similar surprise on Arnold Schwarzenegger when he ran for governor. She represented a former stunt woman who claimed she was groped by Schwarzenegger. He won the election and the allegations faded away.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News.

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