By Rich Schapiro
Controversial state Senate candidate Julia Salazar said Tuesday that she was sexually assaulted by a top spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The 27-year-old Democratic socialist said she was divulging the secret to get in front of a soon-to-be-published news story expected to discredit her and other sex assault accusers of David Keyes.
Salazar, whose campaign has been marred by a series of questionable claims, did not identify the publication or provide details of the alleged attack.
"This story appears to be an effort to cast doubt upon my, and other women's, accusations against Keyes," Salazar said in a statement.
"I've spoken to other journalists who were investigating accusations against David Keyes on background about this experience, but have never spoken on the record about it until now."
"There's a reason women don't come forward after a traumatic experience -- because of the triggering and vicious responses that follow," she added. "I strongly believe sexual assault survivors should not be outed in this way, and am saddened by the effect this story may have on other women."
Reached Tuesday, Keyes, 34, sharply denied the allegation.
"This false accusation is made by someone who has proven to be repeatedly dishonest about her own life," Keyes told the Daily News. "This is yet another example of her dishonesty."
Keyes was the subject of news stories in April 2016 when a woman took to Facebook to claim that he sexually assaulted her.
In the post, the woman said she met Keyes after writing an article about Israel. After meeting for a coffee, the post said, she returned to his place where he forced himself upon her, according to The Times of Israel.
"Eventually, after I insisted on leaving his apartment repeatedly, he physically coerced me," the woman wrote.
"After I submitted to him, he finally allowed me to leave. I remember going into the elevator and sobbing, and getting off before the ground floor so that I could wipe my face with a tissue, so the doorman wouldn't embarrassingly see me leaving his building in tears so late at night."
The post was later deleted and the identity of the woman remained a mystery. She described herself, as Salazar has falsely, as a graduate of Columbia University. Salazar, a first-time candidate running against incumbent Sen. Martin Dilan, attended the school but never graduated.
Keyes reportedly denied the charges. "There was absolutely no coercion in our encounter," an official said on Keyes' behalf, according to Army Radio.
The NYPD said at the time it had not received any complaints against Keyes, according to The Times of Israel.
Salazar has been on the defensive since reports emerged poking holes in her personal narrative of growing up a Colombian immigrant in a working-class family.
Even the candidate's brother spoke out against Salazar, who was born and raised in Florida, saying they had a comfortable upbringing.
Salazar found herself batting away more uncomfortable questions last week when it was revealed that she once claimed the ex-wife of Mets legend Keith Hernandez falsely accused her of having an affair with the retired ballplayer.
The allegations came out as part of a bizarre 2011 case that kicked off with Hernandez's ex-wife claiming to police that Salazar tried to access her bank account.
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