By Geoff Herbert
New York state Senate candidate Julia Salazar was accused of having affair with former baseball star Keith Hernandez, according to a recently uncovered lawsuit.
The New York Post reports Salazar filed a defamation suit against the New York Mets legend's ex-wife, Kai Hernandez in 2013. Kai hired Salazar, then 19 years old, to house-sit for her in Jupiter, Florida, while she was divorcing Keith in 2010.
According to the lawsuit, Salazar was arrested after Kai Hernandez reported her to the police, claiming Salazar stole $11,800 in cash, $950 worth of wine and over $1,000 in Pottery Barn vouchers. The charges were dismissed but Salazar, who was a freshman at Columbia University at the time, said she was "humiliated" by the arrest.
Kai also claimed the teen was sleeping with Keith Hernandez, who was 56 at the time, according to Salazar's lawsuit.
He denied they were lovers, according to The Daily Mail.
The Post reports Kai's attorney says her client never accused Salazar of having an affair with Keith. The lawyer accused Salazar of making it up in an attempt to prove malice in her lawsuit.
The suit was later settled between the two women for an undisclosed amount.
Salazar, now 27, has been described as a "tattoo-wearing socialist" running for office in Brooklyn against incumbent state Sen. Martin Malave Dilan in the Democratic primary. The Associated Press reports she's faced criticism for her quick transformation from a conservative student who led an anti-abortion group at Columbia to a Democratic Socialist who now favors abortion access for all women.
Salazar also faced scrutiny when she claimed she was an immigrant born in her father's home country of Colombia. She was actually born in Jupiter, Florida; her father is an immigrant, but her mother is from New Jersey.
"I never intended to misrepresent myself," she told the AP this weeek, claiming the confusion about her background was due to "having a relatively complex family history and childhood experience it's hard to digest into a sound bite."
Salazar also said she's "proud that I had the courage as an adult to change my mind," saying she now supports progressive ideals like access to quality health care, transportation and education, as well as affordable homes for working families.
Dilan, who has represented the 18th District since 2002, told the AP that he thinks she'll say anything to get elected.
"I know my constituents," Dilan said this week. "Someone who was a Republican last year, a conservative, pro-life, anti-abortion -- now wants to be more progressive than I am? I don't think so."
Salazar has not commented on her lawsuit against Keith Hernandez's ex-wife or the alleged affair.
Hernandez, 67, who now works as a commentator for Mets games on SportsNet New York and WPIX, has also not commented.
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