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Lawyer Whitman's Husband Saw Ex-maid Letter

Lawyer Whitman's Husband Saw Ex-maid Letter

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Published by Tmr Gitu Looh

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Published by: Tmr Gitu Looh on Oct 01, 2010
Copyright:Public Domain

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10/01/2010

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By Timur Abimanyu, SH.MH
Lawyer: Whitman's husband saw ex-maid letter
Calif. candidate says she never saw letter indicating former housekeeper's illegal status
By JULIET WILLIAMS, MICHAEL R. BLOOD
SANTA MONICA, Calif. Meg Whitman's campaign for governor was thrown into turmoilThursday as the Republican sought to fend off new evidence that she knowingly had an illegalimmigrant housekeeper on her payroll for nearly a decade.Whitman denounced the allegations as a "baseless smear attack" by Democratic challenger Jerry Brown in what has become a dead-heat race five weeks before the election.The central issue is whether Whitman knew about a letter that the Social SecurityAdministration sent her in 2003 that raised discrepancies about the housekeeper's documents — a possible tip-off that she could be illegal.The letter is the foundation for claims by former maid Nicky Diaz Santillan that Whitman andher husband knew for years she was in the U.S. illegally, but kept her on the job regardless.For two days, Whitman forcefully denied receiving any such letter and said she fired the $23-an-hour housekeeper last year immediately after learning she was illegal. But Whitman'shusband changed course Thursday after a letter surfaced with what appeared to be hishandwriting, forcing him to say he may have been aware of the correspondence back in 2003.The husband's shift only served to intensify the uproar in a contest that until now been focusedon serious issues such as job creation, government spending and education in a state with a $19 billion deficit and 12.4 percent unemployment.
 
 Now, the focus is on whether the billionaire GOP nominee for governor will take a polygraphtest to respond to allegations brought by a celebrity-seeking attorney and her mysterioushousekeeper client. Video: Meg Whitman’s ‘illegal’ problem?Revelations about the illegal housekeeper have also thrown Whitman's carefully managedcampaign completely off track and opened the door for Democrats to accuse her of hypocrisy.The former eBay chief executive has called for tougher sanctions against employers who hireillegal workers, and the fact that she employed an illegal immigrant maid from Mexico for nineyears could undermine her credibility. She has also spent millions courting Latino voters, whocould play a key role in determining the outcome of the race.The housekeeper and lawyer Gloria Allred later produced a copy of the letter Thursday thatthey say shows Whitman's husband, Dr. Griffith Harsh III, partially filled it out and told thehousekeeper to "check on this."
Questions over what Whitman knew
Allred said the housekeeper recognized the writing as belonging to Whitman's husband, and ahandwriting specialist may be brought in to analyze her husband's penmanship. She claims itcould prove that Whitman and her husband knew years earlier that Diaz Santillan might beillegal while working at their Silicon Valley mansion.Spanish-language ad slams Whitman for housekeeper In a statement released by the campaign, Harsh said he did not recall receiving the letter,although it's possible he scratched out a note asking Diaz Santillan to follow up. He noted,however, that the letter does not say Diaz Santillan is illegal, it merely asks for moreinformation."The essential fact remains the same, neither Meg nor I believed there was a problem with Nicky's legal status," the husband said. "The facts of this matter are very clear: Ms. Diaz brokethe law and lied to us and to the employment agency."Campaign adviser Rob Stutzman said "it's reasonable" the letter could be authentic, but addedthe campaign has questions about its whereabouts for seven years and if it is legitimate. At one point Thursday, the campaign said that Diaz Santillan may have intercepted the letter since shewas in charge of the mail at the house.The story has consumed two full days of news cycles just as Whitman and Brown are preparingfor a Saturday Spanish-language debate that will include questions of importance to theHispanic community.One of the state's largest public employee unions immediately released a Spanish-languageattack ad accusing Whitman of a double standard on illegal immigration.Whitman, who has revealed few details about her personal life since announcing her first runfor office last year, was forced to spend 45 minutes answering questions from reporters aboutwhat she knew and when she knew it, her husband standing awkwardly by throughout."You know, I've only been in politics for two years. I'm just getting used to the smear politics,I'm just getting used to the politics of personal destruction," she told dozens of reporters hastilygathered at a hotel in Santa Monica.
Record $119 million of her own money
 Whitman has spent a record $119 million of her own money on the race, and her campaign has been marked by its uncanny ability to stay on message. That marks a notable contrast with

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