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EX-AIDE TO GOVERNOR CLEARED OF EXTORTION TRY

A federal investigation has uncovered no evidence that a former aide to Gov. James E. McGreevey tried to extort millions of dollars from the governor by threatening a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, according to the aide's lawyer.

Paul Batista, Golan Cipel's attorney, said federal officials told him that Cipel and another lawyer for his client acted properly during settlement talks in the weeks before Aug. 12, when McGreevey announced he is a homosexual, had engaged in an extramarital affair with another man and would resign Nov. 15.

"I'm certain there's no chance they would be accused of a crime," Batista told the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.

Cipel, former state homeland security adviser, has been named by McGreevey associates as the man the governor had an affair with.

Cipel has denied that he is gay or had an affair with McGreevey and has claimed that the governor sexually harassed him. He threatened a sexual harassment lawsuit but never filed it.

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