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How does a Jos. A Bank salesman in just a few months go from shlepping suits at Union Station to taking meetings with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? The answer, according to a sexual harassment lawsuit filed today in federal court, lies with District conservative media bigwig Armstrong Williams.
The lawsuit, filed by former Williams assistant Charlton Woodyard, accuses Williams of sexually pressuring his assistant, then not even paying him for much of the work he performed for the conservative columnist and television station operator.
Williams didn’t respond to a request for comment. Woodyard’s attorney, surprised that the lawsuit was already available, hasn’t commented yet.
According to the lawsuit, Williams, who advised former presidential hopeful Ben Carson‘s campaign, met Woodyard in 2013 while Woodyard was working as a salesman at the Jos. A. Bank store in Union Station. Purportedly impressed with the young Woodyard, whose LinkedIn page describes him as a “Global Lifestyle Influencer,” Williams allegedly offered to work with Woodyard to “groom” him into a business executive.
Woodyard eventually quit his sales job at Williams’ urging, according to the job. But his work with Williams was allegedly about more than just being a protege: Woodyard’s lawsuit relays several stories about awkward sexual moments between him and Williams, including several trips to the sauna at the Capitol Hill Results Gym, where Woodyard says Williams once exposed himself and discussed the sexual habits of ancient Greece.
In another portion of the lawsuit, Woodyard describes himself sleeping at Williams’ house while someone—presumably Williams—tried to enter the room. In another encounter described in the lawsuit, Williams allegedly referred to the anal sex he desired with Woodyard as going to “your basement,” and described his aide’s “oversized weapon”—in other words, Woodyard’s penis.
Woodyard’s status as Williams’ “favorite” allegedly led to brushes with power, including a meeting with Thomas allegedly arranged by Williams. The lawsuit claims that attention also gave Woodyard access to Williams’ thinking about Carson, who Williams allegedly called “slow” and “naive.”
Woodyard’s lawsuit claims that his career was hurt by rejecting Williams’ alleged sexual advances, including the botching of a budding business relationship with the conservative Washington Times.
Williams, who is involved with plans to build a shooting range in the District, was sued in the 1990’s by another assistant on similar charges.