Heidi Hamilton discusses Biden inappropriate touching; Smollett dismissal worrisome for R.Kelly

Second woman accuses Biden of inappropriate touching

A Connecticut woman accused Joe Biden of touching her inappropriately while she was volunteering at a political fundraiser in 2009, adding to the scrutiny the former vice president is facing for overly familiar physical contact with women as he mulls a run for the White House, according to Politico.

Amy Lappos, 43, told the Hartford Courant on Monday that Biden pulled her close to him to rub noses while she was working at a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.).

"It wasn't sexual, but he did grab me by the head," Lappos said. "He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth."

Lappos' allegation came three days after Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state lawmaker, accused Biden of an "awkward kiss" at a campaign rally when she was the state's Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014.

In an essay in The Cut, Flores said that news of Biden's potential candidacy compelled her to speak out in the hopes of spurring conversations "about his troubling past as it relates to women." She criticized photos of Biden for his "uncomfortably close" public interactions with females, referencing his contact with the families of senators and cabinet members during their swearing-in ceremonies.

A Biden spokesman issued a blistering statement Monday morning calling interpretations of these resurfacing photos "ugly urban legends," pointing to statements made by those with knowledge of two of the interactions pictured.

Stephanie Carter, the wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a blog post Sunday sought to "reclaim" a "misleadingly extracted" picture of Biden with his hands on her shoulders in a show of support at her husband's swearing-in ceremony.

A day prior, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told the Washington Post that his children view Biden as a grandfather figure as 2015 photos of Biden and his 13-year-old daughter who appears to react with discomfort as the vice president whispers in her ear recirculated.

"The familiar characterizations of these two photos that have been uncritically perpetuated, turn out to be very false," Biden spokesman Bill Russo said Monday, adding that some "even more insidious" examples of false claims exist online, citing photoshopped images of the vice president.

"These smears and forgeries have existed in the dark recesses of the internet for a while," Russo said. "And to this day, right wing trolls and others continue to exploit them for their own gain."


Jussie Smollett getting off scot-free is bad news for R. Kelly, because prosecutors might be itching for a big win ... so this worries the singer's lawyer, according to TMZ.

Steven Greenberg claims the outcome of Jussie's criminal case in Cook County -- in which all 16 felony charges against him were dropped by the State's Attorney -- might be damaging for Kelly ... especially when it comes to a possible plea bargain.

He says, "I think it makes it more difficult for a friendly disposition because they're going to be extremely reluctant to admit they brought these cases with scant evidence or that there are any other problems."

Greenberg adds State's Attorney Kim Foxx and her team may now view Kelly's case as a chance to redeem themselves after taking such intense heat from the City of Chicago and for that matter the nation for their decision to cut the actor loose.

Foxx seemed much more committed to prosecuting Kelly than Smollett. She held a news conference in early January before charges were filed, urging victims to come forward. By contrast, Foxx recused herself from Jussie's case after she'd admitted to communicating with Smollett's family.

Kelly's facing more serious charges than Smollett he's been hit with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. All are class 2 felonies which carry a max sentence of 3 to 7 years in prison for each offense. He's denied all the allegations.