But the former aide, Erica Vladimer, 30, said in an interview with the Huffington Post that the two left the bar for a cigarette break on April 1, 2015, and that when she turned toward the 57-year-old Senator, he grabbed her head. Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan said in a statement that, at least without a formal complaint being filed, the allegations would not be under the Senate's jurisdiction. Jeffrey Klein forcibly kissed a staffer - a day after the Senate leader said the institution wouldn't conduct its own probe. During the call Klein told reporters that the sexually aggressive action he's accused of committing never happened.
The friend, whom the Huffington Post did not name because she still works in the Senate, also spoke to a reporter for the website about Vladimer being upset and confiding in her the night of the alleged incident.
But after claiming they first heard about this allegation only last week, Klein then clarified on the call that he actually heard something about the allegation at the time.
"It's definitely been one of the hotter topics in Albany for the time being", she said. Klein heads the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway group that shares power with Senate Republicans. "What's the GOP going to do?"
Lewis Kaminski, who plans to run against Klein in the upcoming primary elections, released a statement late Wednesday expressing his admiration for Vladimer, adding "she deserves our respect for showing this kind of courage and sharing her story in the face of what must be tremendous pressure".
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Sen.
"I agree with Senator Klein and with Senator Krueger that this disturbing situation should be investigated, and I believe it should be done immediately and independently", he said Thursday. Vladimer said she and Klein did not usually interact.
While Cuomo said he would await an investigation's findings, others have called on Klein to step down - including a coalition of women led by anti-IDC group True Blue NY who took the City Hall steps today. Vladimer worked for Klein from 2013 to 2015 as a fellow and then as a policy analyst, reporting directly to Klein's deputy chief of staff.
"Nobody there that night saw anything inappropriate happen because nothing did", Klein said.
"So now seeing women speak out, especially these women who feel more comfortable to speak out and say it and show that it is more prevalent, I think it's incredible", Lawrence said. "Klein would have, in full view of both his longtime girlfriend, numerous staff members, and in the middle of a very visible and public street, assault Ms. Vladimir [sic], as her allegation inaccurately suggest", Zweig's statement said.
Vladimer told the Huffington Post she was shaken by the incident, which led her to leave her job with the IDC about a month later. He is considered one of the most powerful legislators in NY and one of the small number of top officials who negotiate the state budget behind closed doors each year.
"There's really not a clear pathway for victims to come forward and get the help that they need", Bucaria said. He supports Klein's accuser and women with similar experiences.
"Let's let Klein step up", she said. We have the Senate Dems who put out legislative packages on sexual harassment, and the governor saying he's.