Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Did you extort McGreevey?
A: No, federal investigation determined that I never extorted McGreevey, and that what occurred was nothing more than standard negotiation between attorneys – such that would occur in any sexual harassment claim. Federal officials informed my attorney that my behavior during these settlement talks was proper. McGreevey's blackmail accusations are nothing more than a public relations maneuver intended to deflect attention from what he did to me, and I intend to set the record straight.
Q: Why didn't you leave the Governor's office immediately after the first incident?
A: First, I was afraid of McGreevey's reaction, and of what he might do to protect his career. But that wasn't the only reason. I also was working in the United States pursuant to a work visa, and I was very concerned that the Governor might take steps to revoke my visa, leading to my sudden deportation. Moreover, I now understand that the complicated emotions I felt are common among victims of sexual harassment and assault – a predicament that I wrongly saw as primarily a problem for women in the workplace.
Q: Did you demand money from the Governor?
A: In fact, the Governor approached me with a settlement offer. Furthermore, the investigation by federal authorities determined that what occurred was nothing more than standard negotiations between attorneys – such that would occur in any sexual harassment claim.
Q: Why didn't you report McGreevey to the police?
A: I was afraid that, if I were to tell someone and try to file a complaint, nobody would believe me. Not only that, but McGreevey was incredibly powerful. He had authority over almost every aspect of New Jersey law enforcement – the Attorney General, the police, the prosecutors, and to a certain extent the judges. McGreevey also had many rich and powerful friends, and a large team of staffers and media advisors that could easily shape the public discourse. Indeed, that is exactly what happened – I could not compete, alone, with his sizable public relations staff. Accordingly, my story received short shrift in the media.
Q: Why didn't you tell anybody?
A: The sad truth is that I was acting out of confusion and fear. Like many other victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault , I chose to deny what had happened. I knew that the next day I would have to go to work. I was afraid of McGreevey's reaction, and of what he might do to keep me quiet. I thought that if I acted like nothing happened, everything might be OK. I now understand this is a common reaction among victims of harassment and abuse.
Q: What was your role as Counselor to the Governor?
A: I advised the governor on political issues, diplomatic affairs, Jewish community relations, and I also acted as a liaison between the governor's office and the various state agencies responsible for law enforcement and homeland security, such as the Office of Counterterrorism, State and local police, the Coast Guard, the Attorney General's office, and the National Guard.
Q: Were you the Homeland Security czar?
A: I was never Homeland Security Chief or czar or anything like that, even though that is what was widely reported. My role as Counselor to the Governor was to be a liaison between the different state officials and security agencies and the governor's office. I was never in a decision-making role – and I never claimed to be qualified for a decision-making role with respect to homeland security.
Q: Why did the media report that you were the Homeland Security Czar?
A: McGreevey lied to the press about my position and misled them about my responsibilities and qualifications. The reality was that he had already appointed a director of homeland security – Kathy Flicker, who led the Office of Counterterrorism. I demanded on numerous occasions that McGreevey correct the record, but he stubbornly refused. He has never explained why he misrepresented my position – certainly, it did not benefit either of us. I asked repeatedly that I be allowed to speak with the press and set the record straight, and he forbade me from doing so. Instead of simply correcting the record from the beginning, McGreevey felt he could control the media by persisting in his misrepresentations.
Q: Were you qualified for your position?
A: Yes I was. My experience in communications and in the military made me completely qualified for my role, however McGreevey had made it seem I was in a position for which I did not have the necessary expertise, and that misperception was never corrected by McGreevey or his press office.
Q: How did you manage to work with McGreevey after the attacks?
A: I was in denial, and though I remained in his office, I avoided him when possible. I think sometimes about what would have happened if he had behaved the same way with a woman. I think it would have ended up much worse for him.
Q: Did you ever suspect that McGreevey is gay?
A: When I met McGreevey, I did not suspect him of being gay -- he seemed happily married, and his wife was pregnant. McGreevey would often talk about heterosexual sex and ask personal questions about women I dated. Now that I understand the subtext of his sexual boasts and inquiries, I can see that I was deceived by his apparent, happily-married situation.
Q: Did you ever suspect McGreevey's intentions?
A: Not until the first incident of sexual assault. It was then that I realized that he marked me as a target. Everything he did up to that point was intended to gain my confidence and convince me to trust him and, more importantly, to be dependent on him.
Q: Why didn't you follow through on your sexual harassment suit?
A: I felt vindicated by his resignation, and considered it to be a form of justice, an admission that he no longer deserved the power he had abused. I wasn't after money or revenge.
Q: Why did you return to Israel ?
A: I returned to Israel to be with my family and to defend them from the media that were swarming around my parent's home. I had intended to return to the U.S. , but I was still being harassed by people involved with McGreevey. At one point I received a letter in the mail that read: "Watch your back…we are here and we know where to find you - Jim's buddies.”
Q: Why do you think McGreevey wrote his book?
A: He told me once that the way for a politician to handle a scandal his to face the public and ask for their forgiveness. When I said that was not enough, he said I didn't understand the American people. He said all you have to do is give them the “best show in town” and they will forgive you. That's what he is doing with his book, in an effort to restore his public image. It goes without saying that he also is seeking to cash in on his fleeting notoriety. I'm pleased to see that many in the gay community have rejected his efforts to appropriate their cause.
Q: Do you believe McGreevey had love affairs with other men who work for him?
A: Although McGreevey denies having an affair with other men who work for him, I don't believe him. McGreevey surrounded himself with young aides that were much closer to him than I was, and some of them were placed in significant positions in government.
Q: What do you think about McGreevey's appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show?
A: Oprah Winfrey was wrong to promote McGreevey's book on her show. McGreevey sexually assaulted me, and Winfrey should empathize with the victim, not with the aggressor, who apparently was far more powerful than myself. I'm very sorry Oprah gave McGreevey a platform. She herself was a victim of sexual assault, and therefore she should have been more sensitive about it. Women are much more concerned about issues of rape, assault and harassment usually; it doesn't do justice to her audience. I e-mailed her producers twice, but they never replied. All that in addition to her apparent commitment to only promote honest books, which this one surely isn't.