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Woman Who Accused Mayoral Candidate Scott Stringer Of Groping Her Circulated Petitions To Nominate Democratic Front-Runner Andrew Yang

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's another bombshell in the New York City mayoral race.

The woman accusing Scott Stringer of sexually assaulting her circulated nominating petitions for one of Stringer's top opponents, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

Stringer, New York City's comptroller and a Democratic candidate for mayor, campaigned in Flatbush, Brooklyn to ask New Yorkers to give him a fair hearing as he continues to forcefully deny startling accusations he groped campaign volunteer Jean Kim twenty years ago.

"We also have to make sure that we investigate, we listen, we look at the facts and follow the facts," Stringer said.

There are now new facts to consider.

First, Kim collected signatures on nominating petitions to get several candidates - including Democratic primary front-runner Andrew Yang - on the ballot.

Kim, a standup comedian, also wrote a thesis for a master's degree at CUNY about women and their struggles to be considered funny.

"Fortunately, I have no stories about comics flashing themselves in front of me, or of sexual groping episodes," she wrote in 2002.

Kim says Stringer sexually assaulted her in 2001.

"Scott Stringer repeatedly groped me, put his hands on my thighs and between my legs and demanded to know why I wouldn't have sex with him. He kept saying, 'Why won't you f*** me, why won't you f*** me?'" Kim said.

Stringer says it never happened. Kramer asked him how he felt about Kim carrying petitions for Yang.

"I don't really want to speculate on those motivations," Stringer said. "But people should take a look at, you know she has a lot of commonality with people who oppose me politically."

Kim insisted she was not working for the Yang campaign. She admitted to carrying petitions for a number of people including her friend Ester Yang, whose name is on the same petition as Andrew Yang.

In a statement, Kim said:

"Regardless of who gets my vote, my decision to disclose my experience with Scott Stringer arose out of the gnawing feeling in my gut every time I saw him touting his support for women.  I am not interested  in pushing anyone into the mayor's office. My purpose is to speak the truth and for Stringer to be held accountable for his actions.  I am not surprised at all by his efforts to discredit me.  It is exactly what I expected him to do.  Lie, attack and retaliate."

Stringer released this statement late Friday afternoon:

"I understand that this is a difficult moment for my supporters, and I know that some of them will feel compelled to withdraw their endorsement of my candidacy. This campaign was always going to be about the people. I've received a lot of support on campaign stops over the last two days, and I'm going to be campaigning in every neighborhood, in every borough for the next two months. I look forward to seeing my opponents on the campaign trail and at the debates."

Earlier, the Stringer campaign released a letter signed by more than two dozen high-profile women attesting to his character and integrity, and calling for a full, neutral investigation:

"Whether or not you support Scott, another candidate or are politically neutral (like many of us), New Yorkers deserve a more nuanced approach than we are seeing in the current debate. That is what any of us would ask for if we, or one of our children, was accused similarly. The statute of limitations makes a legal investigation impossible, but the public and the voters deserve a full, neutral airing of the facts so they can decide the truth for themselves."

The Yang campaign said it only learned last night of Kim's efforts to help their candidate get on the ballot.

The Working Families party on Friday withdrew its endorsement of Stringer and recommended progressive voters consider Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley.

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