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Former aide to congressman sues for sexual harrassment

From NBC’s Domenico Montanaro and Luke Russert
AP reports that "a former aide to Rep. Alcee Hastings (D) is suing the Florida congressman for sexual harassment."

Hastings dismissed the allegations as "ludicrous," contending that the suit "contains numerous inaccuracies and untruths."

More from AP on the allegations:

"The conservative legal group Judicial Watch is representing Winsome Packer in her lawsuit filed Monday against Hastings and the Helsinki Commission that he chaired. Packer claims Hastings repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances, including trying to invite himself to her apartment and hugging her, and threatened her position when she refused him."

Hastings said, "When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, ‘How bizarre!’ I will win this lawsuit.  That is a certainty.  In a race with a lie, the truth always wins. And when the truth comes to light and the personal agendas of my accusers are exposed, I will be vindicated.”

What was Packer's role? She "served as the commission's staff representative in Vienna and says much of the harassment occurred when Hastings was in Europe on commission business," AP writes. "The commission advises on U.S. policy about security, human rights and other issues involving Europe."

Before serving in Congress, Hastings was removed as a federal judge after being impeached. He later served as chairman of a subcommittee on the House Rules Committee.

Here's Hastings’ full statement:

“My comments will be limited since I have not seen the complaint filed in U.S. District Court by Judicial Watch.  I have seen a draft complaint prepared by my accuser that contains numerous inaccuracies and untruths.

“I have never sexually harassed anyone. In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me.  When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, ‘How bizarre!’

“I will win this lawsuit.  That is a certainty.  In a race with a lie, the truth always wins. And when the truth comes to light and the personal agendas of my accusers are exposed, I will be vindicated.”

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell notes, Hastings is a senior member of the House Rules Committee, ranking Democratic member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic chairman of the Florida Delegation.