Joe Biden has told Americans to vote for someone else in the presidential election if they believe a woman who has accused him of sexual assault.
The presumptive Democrat nominee emphatically denied an allegation from Tara Reade (56), who worked in his office in 1993, that he assaulted her in a corridor at the US Senate.
Mr Biden (77) said: "They should vote with their heart. If they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn't vote for me. I wouldn't vote for me if I believed Tara Reade."
The former vice-president also said he did not remember Ms Reade, who worked for him for less than a year when he was a senator.
Mr Biden said any woman who made a claim of harassment or assault "should be taken seriously" but he noted there had been "changes" in Ms Reade's account over time.
He added: "I don't want to question her motive. I don't want to question anything other than to say the truth matters. This is being vetted.
"They [the media] went and people interviewed scores of my employees over my whole career.
"This is just totally, thoroughly, completely out of character, and the idea that in a public place, in a hallway, I would assault a woman? I promise you, it never happened."
Mr Biden was a US senator for 36 years before his two terms as Barack Obama's vice-president.
Ms Reade first went public last year, alleging there had been inappropriate physical contact from Mr Biden. In March this year, she made further claims, alleging Mr Biden had sexually assaulted her.
She gave her first television interview last week, calling on Mr Biden to drop out of the race for the presidency.
Ms Reade said: "You and I were there, Joe Biden, please step forward and be held accountable. You should not be running on character for president of the United States."
US President Donald Trump has appeared to be supportive of Mr Biden, telling his rival to "go out and fight" the allegation.
Mr Biden also said, if he wins the presidency, he would not use his power to "heal the nation" by stopping any investigations that later arise into Mr Trump and his associates.
He said: "It is not something the president is entitled to do, to direct a prosecution or decide to drop a case. It's a dereliction of duty." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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