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Speaker Silver says Assembly members support him

ALBANY -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says his Democratic colleagues support his leadership and feel the news media have been "rather unfair" in the reporting on his role in a once secret settlement of sexual harassment claims against another assemblyman.

Monday's comments are the first from Silver since two women on the Assembly staff sued him, former Assemblyman Vito Lopez and the Assembly over the scandal last week.

Silver acknowledged last year that he crafted a $103,000 settlement using public money to end claims from two other women against Lopez. Silver said that was a mistake. He apologized and has since proposed reforms.

Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat, has denied any wrongdoing and resigned his seat to run for New York City Council. He faces civil charges recommended by the state ethics board.

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