McGreevey's ex-aide alleges harassment

GOP urges N.J. governor to step down immediately

August 14, 2004|By John Riley | John Riley,NEWSDAY

The former homeland security aide embroiled in a gay sex scandal with New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey charged yesterday that McGreevey made "repeated sexual advances," subjected him to "abuse and intimidation" when he finally rebuffed them, and then tried to pay him off to deep-six harassment allegations.

During a brief late afternoon Manhattan news conference yesterday, attorney Alan Lowy read a statement in which the ex-aide, Golan Cipel, also accused McGreevey of trying to "smear" him by suggesting that he was only after money. Cipel, an Israeli, said he felt "vindicated" by McGreevey's emotional Thursday resignation, in which he acknowledged he was gay.

"While we regret that the governor felt compelled until yesterday to lead a double life, the fact remains that he used his official position to repeatedly victimize my client," Lowy said.

Cipel, 35, a poet and former sailor in the Israeli armed forces, met McGreevey in Israel in 2001. When McGreevey took office in 2002, he hired Cipel as a $110,000 homeland security aide. Cipel resigned on Aug. 14, 2002.

Democrat McGreevey, 47 and married twice with two daughters, said the affair had made him vulnerable to "threats of disclosure." Advisers told reporters that Cipel had demanded $5 million to avert a lawsuit.

Lowy disputed that yesterday. He said McGreevey's representatives "offered a sum of money to make my client go away."

The new allegations came as political New Jersey collectively held its breath, waiting to see if Cipel would file a lawsuit detailing the affair, while Republicans pressured McGreevey to resign immediately.

McGreevey plans to turn over power to Democratic state Senate President Richard Codey on Nov. 15. Voters would select the next governor in November of next year. But if McGreevey resigns before Sept. 3, then the state will have a special election in November to choose a governor.

Political analysts say that the scandal would give Republicans a good chance at winning, and Sen. John Kerry might have to devote more resources to the state.

Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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