Influential Senate Democrat Jeff Klein Faces Primary Challenge

Credit Matt Ryan New York Now

Credit Matt Ryan New York Now

Bronx State Senator Jeff Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, has blasted accusations that he forcibly kissed a former employee at a bar in Albany in 2015. She told New York City's NY1 cable television news Thursday that she was inspired to come forward now after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct dating back years.

Leader Jeff Klein is being accused of sexual harassment by one of his staffers.

The former staffer, Erica Vladimer, told the Huffington Post that the incident happened on April 1, 2015 at an Albany bar.

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. She and Klein began to socialize, when they chose to go outside to smoke a cigarette.

Vladimer fled the bar around 4 a.m. and went to a friend's house, where she immediately explained to her friend and her friend's fiancé about the incident.

On Tuesday, Krueger said Vladimer called her to tell her the Huffington Post article would publish Wednesday. Klein heads the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway group that shares power with Senate Republicans. Those are the facts.

"I want to be crystal clear, this alleged incident never happened", he said, according to the New York Daily News.

Savino, who has been romantically involved with Klein, similarly said she did not see any inappropriate behavior alleged by the staffer.

Klein said he will not step down following the accusation. Senators David Valesky, David Carlucci, Tony Avella, Jesse Hamilton, Jose Peralta and Marisol Alcantara say they have "complete confidence" in Klein, and say the allegations are "completely out of character" for the Senate Leader, who they say is a "longtime champion for women". He said he welcomes an investigation into the incident and already has hired a lawyer to question witnesses.

The Senate GOP will in the Senate during budget talks because Brooklyn State Senator Simcha Felder, a conservative Democrat, will continue to caucus with them. "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. After the incident, she left the bar.

"We stand for our progressive values in believing the victim until the investigation goes through", she said.

"I find her to be a honest and credible person who was clearly very shaken about what happened to her that she made the decision to leave state government in Albany because of it", Krueger told HuffPost. She said it never happened, and that she knows him "better than anybody".

"I hope to help the women who might have been in a similar situation and who left [politics] like I did, to realize that they're not alone and they're probably not done with all of the things they could get done in government", she said. He supports Klein's accuser and women with similar experiences. We have the Senate Dems who put out legislative packages on sexual harassment, and the governor saying he's going to discuss proposals.

Even before the article accusing him was published January 10, State Sen. Klein broke away from them to form the IDC, which has a power-sharing agreement with the Republican majority.

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