The woman who accused a high-ranking political aide to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan of sexual harassment said Wednesday that she is being targeted in retaliation for speaking out.
Hampton told NBC 5 she was forced to send a cease and desist letter to Jack Hynes, an associate of Madigan's who lives in the powerful Democrat's 13th Ward and has ties to his political organization - including the supervisor she said harassed her.
The 28-year-old political consultant, who worked for Madigan's organization intermittently beginning in 2012, said her attorney sent the letter after learning that Hynes was reaching out to men who know her "in an effort to get 'dirt' on her and determine whether she has had inappropriate relationships with those men," the letter reads.
"You must cease and desist from engaging in any conduct that is defamatory to Ms. Hampton," it directs Hynes.
Hampton's advisor Lorna Brett said "this attempt to intimidate and vilify Alaina Hampton is typical of people who abuse their power," while Hampton herself said that though she expected retribution for coming forward, the effort to discredit her was "pathetic."
Hynes refuted Hampton's claims in a statement, saying, "It's unfortunate that a casual conversation among two friends has been escalated to the level of involving lawyers."
"In an effort to advance an economic and political agenda, I have been thrust into the spotlight, despite the fact that I didn't act on behalf of anyone, consult anyone or discuss this with anyone (other than the person I was talking to), especially Speaker Madigan or his staff," he continued. "Any words spoken by me were innocuous and unrelated to the pending legal matter. To the extent my words offended Ms. Hampton, Speaker Madigan or anyone else for that matter, I apologize, that wasn't my intent."
A spokesman for the speaker - who was sent a copy of the cease and desist letter - said in a statement, "Michael Madigan told me there is nothing known about the situation. We are not involved."
Hampton faced reporters Tuesday to detail allegations she made against Kevin Quinn, the political operative who Madigan announced the day before had been terminated amid the growing scandal.
Hampton said Quinn harassed her for five months beginning in fall 2016, making multiple unsolicited advances and sending inappropriate text messages at all hours, even after being told repeatedly that the relationship was strictly professional.
Quinn, who worked for the speaker for nearly 20 years, is the brother of 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn - perhaps Madigan's most senior operative and a figure that Hampton called her "mentor."
Hampton said she reported Kevin Quinn's inappropriate behavior to his supervisor, Ald. Marty Quinn, in February 2017, then sent a letter directly to Madigan himself in November.
Kevin Quinn was fired from his roles in both Madigan's Southwest Side constituent service office - shared with Ald. Marty Quinn - and in the speaker's campaign organization "after a thorough investigation," Madigan said in a statement Monday.
"The speaker has had the letter for three months," Alaina said Tuesday, accusing him of attempting to sweep her complaint under the rug and leading her on until the statute of limitations on her case expired. She claimed the organization would not have taken any action had she not spoken to the Chicago Tribune, which published Hampton's account, along with several pages of the text messages in question, Monday night.
"It doesn't take three months to read those text messages and know that behavior is inappropriate," she continued.
The allegations and ensuing controversy sparked a firestorm of responses from elected officials, including several of the Democratic candidates running for Illinois governor.
J.B. Pritzker has been reluctant to criticize Madigan by name in his handling of the complaint.
"I'm not sure what all the facts are, but what I'm suggesting to you is, that we all should believe - and I've said this from the very beginning - when women step forward, we should believe them," he said Tuesday.
That hesitance drew a firm rebuke from state Sen. Daniel Biss, who said "it's no surprise that Pritzker, given Madigan's strong support for Pritzker, that Pritzker didn't want to say anything about the situation."
Meanwhile, Chris Kennedy said in a statement that "those in leadership positions should step aside and take a leave of absence during this investigation."
"The reputation of the Democratic Party is more important than the short-term interest of a few leaders," he added.