TRENTON, New Jersey – The man former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey identified as his gay lover said Thursday he believes McGreevey is not gay.
Golan Cipel, an Israeli citizen hired by McGreevey first as a campaign aide and later as his homeland security adviser, said that McGreevey's 2004 resignation speech admission that he is "a gay American" was "part of the spin" in an interview with a cable news network.
Through lawyers, Cipel had threatened to sue McGreevey for sexual harassment shortly before and after McGreevey's resignation. A lawsuit was never filed.
"I think McGreevey had no choice. There was a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. And he didn't know what to do, and his advisers told him, 'come out first,' and he would be perceived as the victim" and thereby gain control of the story, Cipel said.
While he said McGreevey did make sexual advances toward him on several occasions, Cipel said the former governor also frequently spoke about heterosexual encounters, including sex with prostitutes on trips to Germany and the Dominican Republic.
"I believe that Jim McGreevey is bisexual," Cipel said.
Cipel, 37, in his first extended national television interview since the publication in September of McGreevey's memoir, "The Confession," also urged the gay community "not to embrace McGreevey," saying the former governor committed sexual harassment against him and others.
Cipel, who has repeatedly denied being gay, again insisted that McGreevey's often graphic portrayal of their relationship in the book is untrue.
In the book, McGreevey, 49, writes that he was forced to resign after Cipel threatened to reveal his homosexuality unless he was paid millions to keep quiet.
McGreevey released a statement Thursday night saying, "I stand behind the truth and accuracy of every word in this book." He said he and Cipel had a consensual relationship that lasted for months.
"My only wish for Golan is that he find peace and acceptance in his life," McGreevey said in the statement.
McGreevey now works as an educational consultant and a childhood anti-poverty advocate, and lives in Plainfield, N.J., with his partner, Mark O'Donnell. Cipel has been living in Israel.