How Lisa Bloom Bounced Back From Controversy

The legal pundit and attorney made a name for herself taking on powerful men—then all hell broke loose

It is rare for the cool-as-a-chilled-martini Lawrence O’Donnell to go all fanboy when describing his guests on MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. On a night in April 2017, however, he fairly gushed when introducing the woman sitting across from him. “Lisa Bloom,” he began, shoulders set, eyes locked on the camera for the wind-up, “was the best lawyer standing against Bill O’Reilly when he got kicked out the door at Fox News today.” And the boot doing the kicking, O’Donnell continued, was on her foot.

O’Donnell described how Bloom relentlessly pursued O’Reilly, first by persuading her client, Wendy Walsh, a psychologist and former guest on the O’Reilly Factor, to set aside her fears and share her story with The New York Times. She then had Walsh call Fox’s sexual harassment complaint hotline, knowing it would force the network to launch an in-house investigation to comply with its own HR policies.

That might have been enough, O’Donnell said, his voice rising, but “Lisa Bloom wasn’t finished. [She] kept coming at Bill O’Reilly with more women’s stories”—most notably that of an African American clerical worker named Perquita Burgess, who said O’Reilly leered at her body and called her “hot chocolate” when he passed her on a lunch break.

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“After what Lisa Bloom did to Fox News last night, I asked, ‘How many more bad days will Fox endure?’ ” O’Donnell continued. “I speculated that O’Reilly would be out by Friday. I was wrong. Fox News couldn’t take another day of what Lisa Bloom was doing to them.”

Bloom was no stranger to big cases, of course, or to the bright lights of national TV. She’d anchored her own show on truTV, Lisa Bloom: Open Court, and had parlayed appearances as a legal analyst on cable news and entertainment shows into a career as the go-to pundit on CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew, and The Joy Behar Show, among others. Her client roster boasted former supermodel Janice Dickinson, who alleged that Bill Cosby raped her in the 1980s and who is suing the disgraced comedian for defamation. She also represented Jill Harth, one of several women accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault.

Along the way, she picked up a number of big-name admirers who lauded her keen legal mind and her outspoken defense of women. “The thing about Lisa is that, unlike some people who appear on television as legal analysts, she actually knows what she’s talking about,” CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tells me. “It’s one thing to hold a press conference for the client, but it’s another to know how to win something for your client, and she can do that.”

Still, it was O’Donnell’s introduction that all but cemented her status as one of the fiercest and most prominent legal champions in the country—right up there with Gloria Allred—who just so happens to be Bloom’s mother. When Bloom entered the frame that night, even she seemed overwhelmed by O’Donnell’s words. Flushing, her smile turned up to maximum wattage, she described how she was able to accomplish what years of accusations against O’Reilly had not: effect his permanent ouster.

“When women speak our truth the old order shatters,” the attorney tweeted that same day. “We slayed the dragon.”

Two months after her O’Donnell appearance, Bloom declared victory in a revenge-porn case involving Mischa Barton, former star of The O.C., having reached a settlement against Barton’s ex-boyfriend Adam Spaw stipulating that he never distribute the images and that he stay away from Barton “forever.” In July she helped Blac Chyna reach a child custody settlement against Rob Kardashian (her revenge-porn case against him continues). The same month, it was W magazine’s turn to gush, declaring Bloom and her mother “Defenders of Women in 2017.”

This was heady stuff even for Bloom. As the attorney boarded a plane from Los Angeles to New York in early October for another sexual harassment case—a mediation set for Monday—it seemed that nothing could wilt her reputation. It appeared that way, in fact, all the way up to Thursday, October 5, when a New York Times story came out about a different sort of client, a man she had worked with for a little more than a year. “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades,” read the headline. Buried within the piece was perhaps the only thing as shocking as the allegations against the Hollywood mogul: The lawyer who issued a statement on his behalf was Lisa Bloom.

The hate, when it came, ignited with the fury of a torch tossed onto a drought-dry Southern California hillside. How could she, of all people? She didn’t just work with him. She defended him! It was, people were saying, a slap in the face of every woman who had trusted her, who had lifted her up as a champion against powerful male perpetrators.

Buzz, buzz, buzz. The Google alerts lit her cell as her name flamed up on Twitter. Death threats. Rape threats— against her and her daughter.

Sellout…Backstabber…Money grabber…Enabler.

The story came with accusations from Ashley Judd and others that Weinstein had badgered, coerced, and harassed them, promising to advance their careers if they acquiesced to his sexual advances, allegations that stretched back three decades and included hushmoney settlements to silence his prey. Five days after, The New York Times published a second piece in which actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie revealed their own gruesome accusations against Weinstein.

Within hours of the story’s release, Bloom issued a statement via Twitter. “He denies many of the accusations as patently false,” she said, sounding very much like the kinds of lawyers she had built a career deriding. Her first comments to the Times—including the one explaining that Weinstein was “an old dinosaur learning new ways”—did not play well. (“Absolute horseshit,” one man tweeted. “I am 1 year younger than ‘Harvey’ and never had to learn new ways.”)

Even Weinstein’s brother, Bob, and Lance Maerov—both Weinstein Company board members—were upset with her handling of the situation.

It was one of the rare times in Bloom’s career when she spoke not on behalf of the accuser but the accused. And not just any accused but a man whose alleged behavior would make him the catalyst for the #MeToo movement and the national reckoning on sexual misconduct by powerful men. To make matters worse, word surfaced that Bloom, in the course of her work with Weinstein, had struck a deal for his production company and the rapper Jay-Z to make a docuseries based on a book she had written about the Trayvon Martin case.

The actress Rose McGowan, meanwhile, one of Weinstein’s accusers and soon to be a #MeToo leader, posted an 1,100-word screed aimed at Bloom on Facebook:

“Your very name makes my stomach clench with a stressed tightness that takes my breath away. As does your mercenary act of depravity. Did you think of how it would affect victims to see you champion a rapist? How it felt to those you once ‘fought for,’ for them to know that you used them. You remember them right? They were the victims of assaults, women you’d previously helped. You lied to those hurt women and hid your true character. You wanted a shortcut to fame.”

She also accused Bloom of offering her $6 million to keep quiet about Weinstein, later admitting the claim was untrue (McGowan said she was referring to Weinstein lawyer Charles Harder, the attorney who helped bring down Gawker, and that the amount was $1 million). But a narrative about Bloom had begun to harden. “I am so disappointed in you,” tweeted one person. “I agree,” Rosie O’Donnell tweeted in a response.

Bloom was shaken. “It was probably one of the worst times that I’ve ever seen [for her], or at least that I’ve witnessed,” says Bloom’s daughter, Sarah, an attorney who joined her mother’s shop earlier this year after previously working for the New York firm Bryan Cave LLP. “She showed us some of the stuff that was pouring into her email, just the worst things you can imagine saying to a person.”

Two weeks after the onslaught began, Bloom found herself under fire again, this time in an entirely unrelated matter. She had taken Kathy Griffin as a client to help with damage control after the comedian posed with a replica of President Trump’s severed head and caused her career to implode. Calling Bloom a “fame whore,” Griffin savaged the lawyer for practicing what she called “fake feminism.” Mostly she blamed Bloom for pushing her into what proved to be a calamitous press conference in which Griffin vowed to continue fighting Trump, who she insisted was out to destroy her. “If you want my Lisa Bloom statement, anybody, OK, here it is,” Griffin said in a video she posted on Facebook. “Yes, I got Bloomed. That horrible press conference that was a disaster…. I’m not gonna sue Lisa Bloom. I don’t think Lisa Bloom should be shot, like people wish me, but there’s my fucking statement.”

Bloom wasted no time issuing a reply in which she explained that Griffin ditched the remarks the lawyer had prepared for her and ad-libbed instead. “I was sorry she made that choice, but I respected her right to speak as she saw fit,” Bloom said. “She’s the only client I’ve ever had who chose to extemporize at a press conference rather than read from the notes we prepared.” Despite everything, Bloom ended by saying, “I still believe Kathy Griffin is one of the funniest comics alive…and I wish her the best.”

An even more personal blow came from the very woman who inspired Bloom to become a lawyer: her mother. “I do not represent individuals accused of sex harassment,” Allred said in a statement, adding, “I would consider representing anyone who accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual harassment, even if it meant that my daughter was the opposing counsel.”

Her words were seized upon like the coup de grâce testimony of a star witness, and they left a mark. “For her to attack me was very painful,” Bloom tells me, “especially when I was really down already.”

It was around then that the Los Angeles Times, in an October 19 headline, asked a question that crystallized just how dramatically Bloom’s fortunes had changed in the six short months since her appearance on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show: “Harvey Weinstein is done. But what about Lisa Bloom?”

Photo by Karan Kadam

Generating hate is an occupational hazard for lawyers, especially the high-profile ones. Fail, like Marcia Clark did in her bid to convict O.J. Simpson, and you’re derided as inept. Succeed often, and you earn the title that fierce civil rights attorney William Kunstler did: the Most Hated Lawyer in America.

Allred herself has come in for a particularly personal brand of scorn that has piled up for decades. Back in 2010 Nasim Pedrad, playing Allred in a Saturday Night Live sketch, read a question from a fictional letter writer. “Karen from Boston asks, ‘Is there anything you won’t do to push your butt-ugly mug in front of a camera’?” Pedrad-as-Allred paused. “I have to think about that, but I guess my answer would be no.”

It may be impossible, especially because of social media, to avoid slings and arrows when you’re in the spotlight, but there are some basic rules to make sure the accusations being hurled your way don’t land. The central one, as most crisis management experts will tell you, is not to make matters worse. In the Weinstein case, however, Bloom didn’t just breach that rule, she trampled it, tore it up, and turned it into confetti. Even she admits that she stumbled in those first fraught days.

“I’ve spent my entire life on the outside going, ‘Hey, high-profile guy accused of wrongdoing,’ ” Bloom tells me, leaning forward. She’s in her sun-splashed corner office at the Bloom Firm, which occupies the third floor of an unremarkable, low-slung, biscuit-colored building on Ventura Boulevard, and there’s an urgency in her slightly smoky voice, freshening an explanation she has repeated many times about working with Weinstein. “I wish I could be in that room and talk to that guy directly, but I had never been invited into that room. This, to me, was an opportunity. And what I was in it for and what I accomplished was he was the first high-profile guy, when accused, to acknowledge what he had done wrong. Not all of it—you can only do so much—but he acknowledged wrongdoing.”

She goes on: “My client Jill Harth—oh God, I wish somebody could have gotten in a room with Donald Trump…and say, ‘Just tell her you’re sorry.’ ”

Bloom also points out a nuance missed by many: “People associated me with representing him on the sexual assault allegations, which, of course, I didn’t. As I said in the public statements, it was to advise him on how to handle [the allegations].” What’s more, she notes, she resigned after discovering that the allegations against the Hollywood mogul included sexual assault, and she copped to numerous media outlets that she had made a “colossal” mistake in working with him in the first place.

Even she admits, however, that the optics were awful, and the tone of her explanations to the public came of as lawyerly hairsplitting. To this day, she hasn’t ofered a full explanation of the denial Weinstein made in the initial hours of the scandal.

“I did take sleeping pills a few times, for the first time in my life, and discovered why people love them. I tried meditating, but I suck at it.” —Lisa Bloom

“Her audience has such an expectation for her to do the complete opposite” of what she did, says Erik Bernstein, vice president of Monrovia-based Bernstein Crisis Management. “For her to represent a powerful man who was alleged to have mistreated women was, I’m sure, a shock and left a lot of people dismayed.” He calls it the “Lance Armstrong Factor.” Armstrong “was absolutely beloved—held up as a role model by parents around the country, around the world even,” Bernstein explains. When you suddenly find out that someone like him, who was the paragon of virtue, was cheating, it’s so much more impactful.”

While Bloom wasn’t the cheater, he notes, that was kind of beside the point in the court of public opinion. “The thing is, when you do a complete 180 from what your whole career and life have been—at least what the public perceives them to be—it’s gonna fall flat. No explanation is going to be satisfactory.” Especially with something like #MeToo—Time magazine’s “person of the year” and a revolutionary moment fueled by, well, all of human history.

Dean Florez, a former California state senator, was an undergrad classmate of Bloom’s at UCLA in the early 1980s. “I hate to put it this way,” he says, “but given the timing, the question is, Could God himself come down and apologize without people saying, ‘Sorry, we’re just so disappointed.’? It was just that kind of heightened deal.”

Drew Pinsky, another of Bloom’s admirers, was dismayed by the firestorm as well. “I don’t understand—we live in a world where people are not allowed to make mistakes or miscalculate? Really? If it was a miscalculation on her part, OK, fine. She has a lifelong record being called into question for a single stumble.”

He can relate to the hate. “Oh my God, are you kidding? I’ve been in those crosshairs a number of times, and you can’t imagine how low you feel.” Pinsky made her a fixture on his HLN show, Dr. Drew on Call, but their initial encounter, on another network, was rocky. “We were both on Fox News, and they had just released Rush Limbaugh’s medical records,” says Pinsky. “I was mortified that somebody’s records were being made public, so I was all heated up.”

His opponent, he says, was Bloom, who has mastered the art of sounding like a real person when she’s on TV but can also be aggressive and pointed when confronted by another panelist. “She said, ‘I’m sure you’re a fine physician, but stay in the medical realm and let me handle the legal stuff,’ ” Pinsky recalls with a laugh. The lesson? “You take her on at your peril,” he says. “She’s just a great mind. She has a great presence. She has an opinion— it’s clear, it’s thoughtful, there’s never a beat, never a hesitation.”

But post-Weinstein, she was hesitant— to walk outside, to take calls, to respond. The hardest part, Bloom says, “was journalists contacting me at all hours, even weekends, Thanksgiving, Christmas, bombarding me with questions, most of which I couldn’t answer because Weinstein’s new lawyers demanded I remain silent. Many of the things being said were not true, but I could not respond. So I said what I thought I could get away with, but someone was always upset with me and threatening me—either journalists or Harvey’s new lawyers. I had to choose between being lied about or being sued.”

Bloom had dealt with controversy before, especially after the O’Reilly ouster, which generated death threats and frequent takedowns on Fox News. But the reaction to the Weinstein scandal was of a different magnitude. “I was very down,” she says. “I didn’t sleep much. My phone was always blowing up with the next hateful article about me.”

Bloom says she didn’t drink more than her typical glass of wine at night, but “I did take sleeping pills a few times, for the first time in my life, and discovered why people love them. I tried meditating, but I suck at it.”

Her biggest mistake in the matter, she says, was trying to hit back too quickly and rely on logic when emotions were running so hot. “It was all too soon. What I needed to do was let the accusers tell their story and let that be heard and maybe later come out with an apology, if there was still one to be made,” she says. “One of the things I learned in this is, I’m not just a lawyer here at the Bloom Firm, taking whatever cases I want. People look to me for inspiration. If I’m representing people who are accused, they feel I’m not with them. They feel I’m not carrying the torch. That’s what I had to hear. That’s what I had to learn.”

She maintains that the firm didn’t take a hit—not a direct one at least. “What many in the media don’t understand is that clients and potential clients don’t care that much about what’s going on in my life. They care about what I can do for them. And we continued to get big wins for our clients and shepherd them through their own storms, which were far bigger to them.”

But the events still rippled through the Valley office. Shortly after touching down in Los Angeles, Bloom called a staff meeting to discuss the situation and, she says, declared “that we just can’t represent accused men at all anymore.” Bloom also needed some momentary distance, time to regroup. “When I withdrew I sent an email explaining what I did and what was going on.” For the first time, she had staffers cover some big court appearances for her. “That broke my heart,” Bloom says, “but I was too fragile to do them.

It’s a shiny February morning in the Valley, and Lisa Bloom is striding the halls of the Bloom Firm, the red bulls-eye of a Target store reflected in the large, blue-black mirror windows. The former child actor Alexander Polinsky is there, seeking counsel on whether he should go public with allegations that Scott Baio, his costar on the ’80s sitcom Charles in Charge, subjected him to what he alleges were homophobic taunts and “mental torture” in the form of regular bullying (allegations Baio denied after Polinsky did indeed go public). Another costar, Nicole Eggert, already accused Baio of molesting her starting when she was 14 (allegations Baio also denies) and has come to the office to support Polinsky—and to receive advice on how she should respond to pushback from Baio. The trio settle in at a round coffee table on one side of Bloom’s office, with the lawyer listening as Polinsky and Eggert recount their experiences, Bloom offering Eggert a box of tissues at one point and prodding Polinsky on the specifics of his allegations.

Eggert came to Bloom months after the Weinstein disaster, and without hesitation. “I think it was a mistake on her part,” the actress allows, but Bloom did the right thing by resigning from his team. “Not only did I feel stronger with her behind me legally,” Eggert says, “but she also helped me emotionally through it, which I wasn’t expecting from her, to be honest with you. It really made me respect her even more.”

The office is a ten-minute drive from the split-level hilltop manse Bloom shares with her husband, Braden Pollock, who serves as the firm’s manager. They’re in the process of renovating a $2.3 million Spanish Colonial Revival home in Los Feliz (the infamous “murder house” in which a doctor killed his wife in 1959 before taking his own life), but she insists she loves the Valley for being unpretentious and “real.”

At 56, Bloom is lean and fit. She works at a stand-up desk with a treadmill and, characteristically Type A about how she spends her off-hours, she’s summited Mount Kilimanjaro, backpacked both the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire and the Inca Trail in Peru, completed the New York City marathon, and visited more than 40 countries from Cambodia to Costa Rica. The license plate frame on her Tesla Model X says, “I think therefore I’m vegan,” and the night I dined with her at her home, she was auditioning a personal vegan chef during a dinner for ten friends, including Dead Poets Society screenwriter Tom Schulman. After dinner the group repaired to the back of the house, wineglasses in hand, a panorama of lights twinkling in the background.

Based on appearances, at least, the biggest giveaways that Bloom is the daughter of Allred are the dark eyes and determined jawline. Where her mom prefers a perfectly coifed shag, Bloom, on most days, wears her hair long and blond, dressing far less formally than her mom. The blouse is usually a TV-friendly bright red or orange under a ubiquitous cardigan sweater (“I get cold”) and mid-heel boots or shoes (“I walk from one end of the office to another all day long”).

Like her mother, Bloom counts televised press conferences and media appearances among the most powerful arrows in her quiver. “It’s a very important tool, but we use it strategically,” says Bloom. “The other side almost always wants secrecy,” especially when it’s a client like Bill O’Reilly, who has, she notes, “access to investigators and publicists and all kinds of things that we don’t have access to. The media really helps us level the playing field.” It also draws out other possible clients.

Where they differ most may be in their delivery. Allred aims for spectacle and can sometimes seem more like a ringmaster than a lawyer. In 1981 she presented a leather chastity belt to a California state senator who had introduced anti-abortion legislation; a few years later she donned a 19th century swimsuit and, brandishing a tape measure while singing Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?,” sauntered into the all-male steam room at the Friars Club of Beverly Hills. Bloom, on the other hand, prefers to play it straight. “I want to be respectful, even to the other side, so I don’t use stunts or gimmicks. I want to be professional about it.”

Bloom’s mother, Gloria Allred

Photo via Getty Images

Law school wasn’t part of the plan early into Bloom’s days at UCLA. The future Phi Beta Kappa believed she had found her calling volunteering during her junior year at Sojourn, a battered-women’s shelter in Santa Monica. “I was working with the kids,” she says. “I really loved them, but it was also heartbreaking. Many times I’d come on a Tuesday and we would play and we would talk, and then I’d come back on Thursday and they would be gone. The mother had taken them back to their abuser.”

By then Gloria Allred was already perhaps the nation’s highest profile (and most controversial) legal champion of women. In 1984 she took on the Los Angeles Archdiocese, winning a settlement for a woman who claimed seven priests had sex with her when she was a teenager. Five years later, she took as a client Norma McCorvey, aka “Jane Roe,” of Roe v. Wade, serving as an adviser after McCorvey’s identity was revealed and she became, for a time, a highly visible anti-abortion activist. In the ’90s the family of Nicole Brown hired her during O.J. Simpson’s criminal trial, and in 1997 Allred sued Dodi Fayed for breach of contract on behalf of a model he’d courted while also dating Princess Diana.

Like her daughter, Allred didn’t set out to become a lawyer at first. Born Gloria Bloom in 1941, she was raised by workingclass Jewish parents in Philadelphia. She taught at predominantly black Benjamin Franklin High School and supported her husband, Peyton Huddleston Bray, a blueblooded countercultural intellectual who struggled with severe mental illness.

He was, Bloom writes of her father in Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, “a true ’60s hippie,” a personality trait that shows up in Bloom’s love of festivals like Burning Man, which she has attended the last few years. “He wore Levis every day of his life… [his] hair fell to the middle of his back.” A voracious reader, he sang Woody Guthrie anthems to his daughter, taking care to explain the lyrics, and hung portraits of jazz greats John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Louis Armstrong next to family photos. “If I pointed out that these guys weren’t actually members of our family, he gave me a withering look,” she writes. “Failure of imagination,” she recalls him telling her.

But Bray struggled with bipolar disorder and Allred’s marriage to him lasted two years. They divorced in 1962, a year after Bloom was born. In 1966, after earning her degree at New York University and becoming deeply interested in civil rights, Gloria Bloom moved with Lisa, then five years old, to East Hollywood and worked for the Los Angeles Teachers Association, teaching at Jordan and Fremont high schools in South L.A. She was also attending law school near downtown at Loyola when she met an aircraft parts manufacturer by the name of William Allred; they were married soon enough, and Gloria (now Allred) found her calling (though the couple divorced in 1987).

Allred wanted a law career for her daughter, but Lisa wasn’t interested. At least she said she wasn’t. But she was sort of a natural. Rankled by separate “boys” and “girls” toy aisles at the local Sav-On Drugs store, for instance, Bloom got her mother to sue. The chain caved and henceforth offered a single “toys” aisle. And as a result of Allred’s advocacy, Bloom says, she became known as “The First Girl To…”—the first girl to take woodshop at her middle school, become a player on her school’s softball team, wear pants to a square dance.

So when Bloom demurred about going to law school, Allred—not exactly known for her light touch—took a subtler approach. “She’s very slick,” Bloom says with a grin. “She said, ‘Well, just take the LSAT and see how you do. It doesn’t have to mean anything.’ ”

Bloom aced the LSATs, so Allred said, “Just apply to law school; you don’t have to go,” says Bloom. “After I applied and I got into Harvard and Yale and everywhere else, she said, ‘Well, just accept somewhere and you can always change your mind.’ ” That Bloom won the Cross Examination Debate Association championship while at UCLA all but sealed her fate.

Bloom worked for her mother’s firm for nine years after graduating from Yale Law, assisting in a sex abuse lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church, among other cases. There was an early marriage, though Bloom talks little of it, during which Bloom became a mother of two. (Whereas Sarah followed the family tradition of law, Bloom’s son, Sam, became a dancer.) As other offers rolled in, Bloom opted to step away from practicing law and, in 2001, launched a career as a TV legal analyst. Her father wound up taking his own life two years later. Bloom’s run hosting her own show on truTV lasted eight years, but she itched to get back into the courtroom. In 2010 she formed the Bloom Firm, pursuing a line of work unmistakably similar to her mother’s.

For Bloom, her mother has always been someone to emulate, not compete with. Which is why Allred’s remarks after the Weinstein meltdown hit so hard. They were, says Pollock, shocking. “She piled on,” he says. “It was damaging, and it gave critics ammunition, ‘God, her own mother says it’s wrong.’ ”

When I asked Allred about the statement, she was unfazed. “Did you see exactly what my statement was?” she asked. “If you look at [it], you can see that there’s no criticism of her…. There’s been no criticism of her in that statement or any statement.” Months went by before Bloom and her mother reached a détente, earned through a series of cautious meetings where both shared their hurts. “We talked it out in many get-togethers over a period of about a month and a half,” says Bloom. “While we still don’t agree on everything, she did hear me. We have great respect for each other, and we’re never going to agree on everything. I love my mom, and it was time to hug it out and move on, so that’s what we did.”

Moving on from other aspects of the fallout over Weinstein has been just as gradual a process. Bloom cut back on public appearances and, after weeks of torturing herself by reading critical articles and fuming over troll attacks, she declared a self-imposed moratorium on social media. In November she went on The View to at least try to set the record straight once and for all. In March she held a press conference with client Andrea Buera, who accused singer Trey Songz of domestic abuse during an NBA All-Star Weekend after-party. Songz, whose real name is Tremaine Neverson, was arrested days later and charged with felony domestic violence; the case was subsequently dropped.

Come April, though, the Vegas mogul and former Republican National Committee finance chairman Steve Wynn announced that he was suing Bloom for defamation after a client of hers accused him of sexually harassing her when she was a dancer at the Wynn casino. Until then, Bloom, still smarting over recent events, had been cautious in her public statements. Not anymore.

“Bring it on,” she wrote. “I will not be bullied. I will not be silenced. In my opinion, Mr. Wynn sued me in an attempt to intimidate other women. This time, he chose the wrong woman. I will fight him in court, and I will win, just as I have won against so many other high-profile men. And the fourteen lawyers in my law firm and I will redouble our eforts to represent women bravely taking on Steve Wynn and many others.”

At the bottom she included her web address with the note: “If you have information about Steve Wynn to share with me, please contact me.”

A week or so later she appeared on MSNBC’s AM Joy to opine on President Trump’s embattled attorney, Michael Cohen, with fellow guest Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing porn actress Stormy Daniels. As host Joy Reid worked through her lead-in, both attorneys sat poised, hands folded in front of them, waiting to be called on.

Avenatti went first, musing on the possible legal shitstorm headed Cohen’s way. Bloom, when it was her chance, pounced on the question almost before it was out of Reid’s mouth. “You know what, Joy? I’m really angry,” she said, leaning forward. “I think we have a right to know in the middle of the #MeToo movement how many women have been silenced by Michael Cohen and by Donald Trump.”

Before Reid could interrupt, Bloom charged ahead. “My client Jill Harth—the first woman to speak out about sexual misconduct by Donald Trump in 2016—she got a call from Michael Cohen in 2016 asking her to lie and deny the whole thing, which she refused to do.”

Her voice rose. Her eyes narrowed. Her finger jabbed the air. “How many women?” she said. “For how long? I think we have a right to know. And I also want to say, God bless Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and, of course, her fine attorney for speaking out because I’m sure this is very hard for them.… It’s time for these men to come clean—and especially when talking about our president and sexual misconduct against women.”

It was vintage Lisa Bloom on a righteous rant, defending women, seizing the narrative, lighting up the set. In three weeks, she’d be at it again—this time to weigh in on Bill Cosby’s sexual assault convictions and to remind everyone that her suit against the comedian wasn’t over. Lisa Bloom was back—back doing what she liked to do most and back looking like she was on the right side of the fence.

Editor note: The headline of this story has been updated.


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