Huffpost Politics

Nevada Governor Sued For Allegedly Threatening Rape

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LAS VEGAS — The accusations of a woman who says Nevada's governor once threatened to rape her are "simply false," Gov. Jim Gibbons said Wednesday.

An investigation two years ago that resulted in no criminal charges should speak for itself, the governor said in a statement.

"I'm disappointed the matter has re-emerged when the result will be the same," Gibbons said.

A former Las Vegas waitress now living in California sued Gibbons in federal court Tuesday, accusing him of charges including battery, false imprisonment and second-degree kidnapping. Chrissy Mazzeo, 34, is seeking unspecified damages in excess of $10,000.

Mazzeo alleges that Gibbons pushed her against a wall in a parking garage and propositioned her for sex near a restaurant where they had been drinking with a group the night of Oct. 13, 2006. The lawsuit filed by Las Vegas attorney Robert Kossack quotes Gibbons as telling Mazzeo: "I'm going to rape you."

Gibbons said two years ago that he merely caught Mazzeo when she tripped in the garage. At the time a five-term congressman, Gibbons won election as governor the next month. Weeks later, a prosecutor announced he would not be prosecuted.

Gibbons said Wednesday he finds it difficult to believe that authorities and others were untruthful, as the lawsuit claims.

"It's unfortunate this situation has been resurrected after all this time," Gibbons said. "The investigation that took place two years ago was comprehensive and revealed no evidence to back up Ms. Mazzeo's claims. The allegations made then, and again in this lawsuit, are very simply false."

Gibbons, 63, filed for divorce from his wife in May, citing incompatibility after some 22 years of marriage. Dawn Gibbons, 54, accused the governor of being involved with another woman, something Gibbons has denied.

Kossack said he would ask that Dawn Gibbons be deposed to determine whether she saw a bruise on her husband's shin after the evening spent with Mazzeo. The waitress has said she escaped Gibbons' advances by kicking him.

"I do have in my mind a process in which we're basically going to go up the ladder, starting with the initial responding officers and working our way all the way up," said Kossack, who says he thinks a seven-figure judgment is possible.

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Associated Press writers Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and Brendan Riley in Carson City contributed to this report.