Republicans call on Rep. Esty to resign from Congress

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NORWALK -

Republicans are calling on United States Rep. Elizabeth Esty to resign from Congress over abuse allegations against a former top staffer.

When Esty learned in May 2016 that her chief of staff was accused of hitting a fellow staffer and threatening to kill her, she launched an internal investigation instead of firing him. She now admits that was a mistake.

Two newspapers report that it took Esty three months to fire chief-of-staff Tony Baker -- even though his accuser had already got a protective order from police. When she did fire Baker, Esty told the papers she paid him $5,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement. That deal also included a job recommendation letter to the gun control group Sandy Hook Promise.

Republicans are now calling that payment "hush money" during an election year, and some say she should resign.

"I certainly think that she should consider it and do the right thing, if her constituents want her to go," says former congressional candidate Clay Cope, who ran against Esty. "I happen to be one of her constituents."

Esty said in a statement, "To address the immediate crisis, I demanded counseling for the offending chief of staff, launched an internal review of workplace safety and management, and took a hard look at how I allowed my office to be run. I must do better. We all must do better."

On Friday afternoon, the Hartford Courant called on Esty to resign.

Esty she told the Connecticut Post that she regrets not acting sooner. As for that nondisclosure deal, Esty said congressional legal staff pressured her to sign it.

Even some fellow Democrats have been slow to defend Esty.

"What she does in the future really is a decision for her constituents," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. "She needs to talk to her constituents."

Esty's office did not answer questions Friday about whether she will resign.

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