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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
John Bowden and Gustaf Kilander

Democratic senator breaks silence over staffer’s alleged sex scandal


Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin has spoken out after one of his staffers was forced out of his job after a tape leaked of the staffer allegedly having sex in a Senate committee hearing room.

“I was angry, disappointed. It’s a breach of trust. All of the above. It’s a tragic situation and it’s presented a lot of anger and frustration. I’m concerned about our staff and the way that they feel about this and the Senate staff,” Mr Cardin told reporters.

The senator declined to say if the staffer was fired or simply left the job, only stating that he’s “no longer a Senate employee”, according to The Hill.

Mr Cardin also didn’t confirm the staffer’s name and didn’t say if there had been disciplinary problems in the past.

“I am not aware of anything else involved here,” he said. “This is a personnel issue and there’s some investigations going on.”

The senator said he hasn’t spoken to the former staffer and he indicated there the former senate employee hasn’t apologised.

The leaked footage appears to show two people having sex in Hart 216, the hearing room for the Senate Judiciary Committee which has also been the site of the 9/11 commission as well as nomination hearings for the Supreme Court.

Judiciary Committee member Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar told the press that Mr Cardin “is dealing with it with his staff”.

“They fired him,” she said, according to The Hill.

As reporters searched for Mr Cardin, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin jokingly urged the press to “leave that beautiful man alone”.

Another Judiciary Committee member, Republican Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, asked if the chamber is “locking the doors now?”

“Do we lock the Senate doors at night?” he asked. “We do? Thanks.”

On Friday evening, the right-wing site The Daily Caller published a video appearing to show two men engaged in sexual intercourse which the site reported to have originally been posted in a private group chat among gay men in DC politics.

The Caller would go on, citing a source familiar with the video, to identify one of the two men pictured in the video as the Senate staffer. The man’s features were blurred out and the site did not name either the senator or the aide as it had not confirmed the video’s legitimacy.

Rightwing media personalities led by conspiracy theorist and failed congressional candidate Laura Loomer would go on to take the reins on Twitter/X and other platforms. Digging up other posts on Instagram connected to the username “aidansanto”, they named the staffer as Aidan Maese-Czeropski, a staffer in the office of Mr Cardin.

Then, Mr Maese-Czeropski promptly left his job with Mr Cardin’s office. His apparent firing was confirmed to Politico’s Playbook newsletter by Mr Cardin’s office, though a specific reason was not given.

“Aidan Maese-Czeropski is no longer employed by the US Senate,” said Mr Cardin’s office. “We will have no further comment on this personnel matter.”

The Independent cannot verify with certainty that Mr Maese-Czeropski was indeed in the video, or where it was recorded.

US Capitol Police said on Monday night that an investigation into the incident was ongoing, according to The Hill.

Mr Maese-Czeropski did not respond to a list of questions provided by The Independent on Sunday morning.

On LinkedIn, however, a statement posted by the former Cardin staffer appeared to suggest that a matter relating to his sexuality had been the cause of his ousting.

The Independent has reached out to confirm whether Mr Maese-Czeropski disputes being in the video or the location where it was supposedly recorded.

“This has been a difficult time for me, as I have been attacked for who I love to pursue a political agenda. While some of my actions in the past have shown poor judgment, I love my job and would never disrespect my workplace. Any attempts to characterize my actions otherwise are fabricated and I will be exploring what legal options are available to me in these matters,” he said.

On Twitter, one Republican congressman even took to publicly trolling Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Democratic senator who had led a committee hearing in Hart 216 just last week, and whose desk appeared to have served as the backdrop of the couple’s sexual act in the video.

On Tuesday, The Independent attempted again to reach the office of Mr Cardin and Mr Maese-Czeropski for comment.

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