ewly-released security camera footage of an interaction between State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17th District) and lobbyist Gil Genn is leading to different explanations from both parties roughly two weeks after Kagan accused Genn of touching her inappropriately.N
The footage from a March 1 event at Castlebay Irish Pub in Annapolis shows shows Genn, a former state delegate and Kagan greeting one another with Genn putting his hand on Kagan’s back and whispering something to her before sliding his hand off her back, after which both spend the rest of the video in conversation. The footage does not make it clear how exactly Kagan reacted to Genn’s touch, as both continued talking in the crowded Annapolis bar.
Kagan – who in a March 2 statement accused Genn of touching her inappropriately by placing his hand on her back and then “[sliding] it down” – claimed the video validates her accusations.
“I was really uncomfortable,” Kagan said in a press conference Tuesday. “I wanted the incident to end. I wanted the interaction to end. He kept talking.”
However, Genn’s lawyer said the video exonerates Genn of any inappropriate behavior.
“It was completely appropriate and within bounds and something that happens with most Americans thousands of times a week,” said attorney Tim Maloney, who called the video definitive proof that Kagan’s claims that Genn touched her inappropriately are false, and demanded that she apologize for her accusations.
But Kagan still stands by her original claim, noting that too many women are afraid to come forward and name the men that have sexually harassed them. Kagan ended her original statement making the claim with #MeToo, in solidarity of women across the country who have told their own stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
“I speak up today not only for myself, but also for the legislative staff and interns who are clearly more vulnerable than a Senator whose votes could affect a lobbyist’s clients. It’s time to call him out,” Kagan said in a statement.
Genn has denied Kagan’s allegations since they first came to light roughly two weeks ago, issuing a statement at the time in which he said that he did not inappropriately touch Kagan.
“I kept my hands to myself,” Genn said in his original statement denying Kagan’s claims. “I didn’t even shake her hand. I did not run my hand down her back or down her ‘tush.’ And I especially and consciously avoided the all-too-common Annapolis legislative ‘hug’ many legislators use to greet one another.”