A Russian lawmaker accused of sexual harassment has maintained his innocence and hinted at a foreign plot to smear him.
At least four female reporters accused State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky in the past week of having made inappropriate sexual advances against them. The latest, the deputy editor of the international Russian-language news network RTVI Yekaterina Kotrikadze, is so far the only journalist to have publicly revealed her name.
“We should just proceed from [the fact] that this hit job has been extinguished and that it’s over,” the Vedomosti business daily cited Slutsky as telling reporters on Thursday.
Asked if he would be ready to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence, the lawmaker only commented on the test’s “high margin of error."
The lawmaker noted Kotrikadze’s Georgian nationality, saying that journalists from her country were capable of accusations that were “much greater” than sexual harassment.
“It’s surprising that there were no Ukrainian or American women journalists,” Slutsky added.Pavel Gusev, who heads the Moscow Union of Journalists, blew off Kotrikadze’s allegations of sexual harassment against the Duma deputy as “belated” and “unprovable” earlier on Thursday.