No Harassment Lawsuit Against N.J. Governor

A former aide who claims New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey (search) sexually harassed him will not file a lawsuit against the governor, the man's lawyer said Monday.

The governor's resignation announcement was sufficient admission of his wrongdoing and the issue was never about money, said lawyer Rachel Yosevitz, attorney for Golan Cipel (search).

McGreevey announced Aug. 12 that he was gay and would resign from office because he had an extramarital affair with a man. Administration sources identified the other man in the relationship as Cipel.

But the former McGreevey homeland security adviser denied that he was gay or had an affair with McGreevey. Cipel countered that he had been sexually harassed by the governor from the time he went to work for him soon after McGreevey was elected in 2001.

"Had the governor not resigned and admitted his wrongdoings, Mr. Cipel emphatically stated that he would have sued," said Yosevitz, who just returned from visiting Cipel in Israel (search), where he has been in seclusion with his family.

Cipel, in a statement written in Hebrew and released Monday by an Israeli public relations agency, said he had no doubt that he would have won a lawsuit and that the governor's resignation had vindicated him.

"Despite my strong desire to prove my case in a court of law, I have decided not to proceed with my suit. The main reason is the governor's resignation and his admission of his acts. It's clear to all that McGreevey resigned because he sexually harassed me and that a man of his standing would not have resigned because of sexual orientation or have had an extramarital affair," the statement said.

Yosevitz said Cipel "has no desire to have the taxpayers of New Jersey pay for Mr. McGreevey's reprehensible conduct."

A spokesman for the governor said Monday's announcement was not a surprise.

"The governor made clear that he did not want to put the people of New Jersey at risk, he did not want to expose the state to the threat of a lawsuit," said spokesman Micah Rasmussen.

Another Cipel lawyer, Allen Lowy, said that he had notified attorneys for the governor in July that he intended to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against McGreevey on behalf of Cipel.

A series of negotiations between another Cipel lawyer, Allen Lowy, and McGreevey's attorneys took place over the next several weeks, but no settlement could be reached and the governor eventually made his resignation announcement.

Legal experts said Lowy had until Monday to file a sexual harassment lawsuit because the state statute of limitations for such complaints is two years and Cipel left the state payroll at the end of August 2002.

At Monday's news conference, Cipel's lawyers also addressed a claim by McGreevey administration officials that Cipel was attempting to extort money from McGreevey.

"There was never any extortion. It was merely negotiations between attorneys," Yosevitz said. Lowy said Cipel has agreed to talk to the FBI, which has been investigating the extortion claim, but has not yet talked with the agency.

"Golan Cipel has made it clear that this matter is not now, nor has it ever been, about money," she said.

Lowy said that negotiations with McGreevey's camp ended "five minutes before the governor resigned" and that there have been none since.

The sexual harassment took an emotion and physical toll on her client, Yosevitz claimed, saying that Cipel suffered from intestinal pain, migraine headaches, heart palpitations and sleeplessness.