Lawyer With Ties to Jim Renacci Releases Unnamed Sherrod Brown Accuser’s Statement

Brown campaign issues cease and desist letter against ‘unsubstantiated and false claims about something that never happened’

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Renacci says a women approached him with sexual assault claims against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, which the Brown campaign calls “unsubstantiated and false claims about something that never happened.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawyer Laura Mills released a statement Thursday through Ohio Republican Senate candidate Jim Renacci’s campaign providing more details on a sexual misconduct allegation against Sen. Sherrod Brown stemming from an incident in the late 1980s.

The Ohio Democrat has previously called Renacci’s unsubstantiated claims of improper sexual conduct by him “desperate.”

But Mills’ statement Thursday, first reported by Cleveland.com, marks the first time Renacci has provided more than just hearsay knowledge of a claim against Brown.

Mills is a former business partner of Renacci and a donor to his past political campaigns.

She describes her client as a woman who met Brown “in the course of her work” and found herself one time alone with him, “but not on a date,” Mills’ statement reads.

The alleged incident occurred in the late 1980s, between Brown’s divorce in 1987 from his first wife and his marriage to his current wife.

At their meeting, Brown allegedly made “an unexpected, uninvited, unwanted, and sudden advance” toward the woman, “roughly pushing her up against a wall,” Mills said.

The woman “told a friend in confidence about her unwanted and unexpected experience in the late 80’s,” Mills said.

“This was months ago, shortly after the MeToo movement began. The reason she told her friend was to explain why she believed many of the women, as something unwanted had happened to her with a prominent politician. She had no intention of coming forward and did not know that the friend would later contact Jim Renacci with it.”

Renacci referred the woman to Mills.

Brown has issued a cease and desist letter to Renacci in which he advised the Ohio Republican not to “continue making unsubstantiated and false claims about something that never happened,” or else he would face “legal ramifications,” a spokesman for the senator, Preston Maddock, said in a statement.

Maddock highlighted Mills’ previous professional and political affiliation with Renacci and characterized her claims as “anonymous” and “unsubstantiated.”

“This will not be tolerated,” Maddock said, and “all legal means will be pursued against Jim Renacci.”

Brown’s lead over Renacci in the polls has never dropped below 13 points since the two won their respective primaries in May.

President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 8 points in the quadrennial swing state in 2016. 

Still, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race for Ohio’s Senate seat Likely Democratic as Democrat Brown seeks a third term.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.