FBI to Interview McGreevey Accuser

FBI agents will soon travel to Israel to interview the man who claimed Gov. James E. McGreevey (search) sexually harassed him, authorities said Tuesday.

Golan Cipel (search) is to be interviewed sometime this week or next, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. He declined to specify what topics would be addressed.

Cipel, who once was McGreevey's homeland security adviser, left for his native country of Israel last month, shortly before his lawyer announced that Cipel would not sue the governor.

An FBI investigation was already under way, prompted at least in part by complaints from McGreevey's lawyer that Cipel had demanded cash to avoid a lawsuit. Cipel's side has denied any extortion.

Talks between the parties ended Aug. 12 when McGreevey announced that he is gay, had engaged in an extramarital affair with another man and would resign Nov. 15.

Top aides to the governor have said Cipel was the man with whom McGreevey was involved. Cipel has insisted he is not gay.

The upcoming interview was first reported Monday by The New Jersey Law Journal.

Cipel lawyer Alan Lowy (search) declined to comment Tuesday and referred inquiries to a public relations firm in Israel that has represented Cipel. A message left for the firm Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Last month, in announcing that Cipel would not sue, Lowy said his client would tell federal authorities what happened in the weeks after Lowy contacted McGreevey's office and alerted them to a possible lawsuit.

McGreevey lawyer William E. Lawler (search) said he believes the FBI is conducting a "comprehensive" probe.

"We want them to interview him. We were the ones that asked they conduct an investigation," Lawler said. "I have no doubt that they'll ask the right questions."

Lawler said he was with McGreevey Aug. 20 when two FBI agents interviewed the governor at his official residence in Princeton.

Cipel was a former public relations official who had little security experience when McGreevey appointed him as a security adviser in early 2002.

Cipel was reassigned in March 2002 — but kept his $110,000-a-year salary — after news reports that he was unable to get a security clearance because he lacked U.S. citizenship. Cipel left state government in August 2002.