State of confusion

Sat, August 21, 2004

NEW JERSEY Gov. James McGreevey is gay -- but reputed lover Golan Cipel denies his homosexuality, the governor's biggest backer is guilty of hiring a hooker, and another man says he's had sex with Cipel. Blackmail, prostitution, corruption, people being shipped off for psychiatric evaluations -- even by New Jersey standards, it has been a weird week.

Last week McGreevey stunned viewers with a televised speech in which the father of two said, "I am a gay American," and promised he would step down in November.


Since then, the tale has grown stranger, even in a state known as the setting for TV's mob hit The Sopranos.

McGreevey's dalliance was said to be with Cipel, who, sources close to the governor said, was trying to extort millions of dollars to keep the affair quiet. Cipel's lawyer accused the governor of a smear campaign, and said McGreevey's aides had offered to pay Cipel for his silence. Then Cipel, who fled to his home in Israel, told reporters he wasn't gay.


The stories of the disgraced governor and the former Israeli seaman were summed up by the New York Daily News in the headline "He said: He said."

On Wednesday, McGreevey's top contributor, Charles Kushner, pleaded guilty to charges of interfering with a witness after encouraging his brother-in-law to sleep with a prostitute and then giving the tape to the man's wife.

As if all that wasn't enough, a New Jersey doctor, Michael Miller, then appeared on local television wearing only shorts to claim he had had a gay relationship with Cipel.