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New sex harassment case surfaces in Assembly

ALBANY — A sexual harassment accusation in New York’s Assembly four years ago was blocked from investigation by a lawyer for the chamber, according to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who himself faces a continued threat to his power after mishandling other harassment claims.

Silver said Wednesday he plans to fire the lawyer.

The case began in 2009 when Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat now running for New York City Council, was accused of flirtatious and otherwise inappropriate online communication with a young female staffer. The New York Times first reported the case for Wednesday’s editions.

The accusation, including 15 pages of transcribed online chats, was reported at the time to longtime Assembly lawyer Bill Collins.

Collins didn’t advance the accusation to the Ethics Committee as required by Assembly policy, according to Silver, and he failed to tell Silver at the time, a spokesman for the speaker said Wednesday.