Rep. Esty apologizes, says she won't resign early

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HARTFORD -

Rep. Elizabeth Esty apologized Tuesday, almost two weeks after it emerged that she moved slowly in response to violent allegations against her former chief of staff by one of her staffers.

As News 12 has reported, Esty kept her former chief of staff on the payroll for three months after a co-worker accused him of punching her and threatening to kill her.

"I took steps that I thought made sense at the time, to try to protect her," Esty says.

She has already said she will not seek re-election, but Republicans are calling on her to step down immediately.

Esty had chosen Julie Sweet to lead an internal investigation into her former chief of staff, Tony Baker. Sweet was the same woman who initially recommended Baker for the job.

"I know it doesn't look like it makes sense now," Esty says. "At the time...she was a mentor of Anna's (the victim)."

Baker eventually left with a $5,000 severance and a job recommendation -- all kept secret with a nondisclosure agreement.

Esty says it wouldn't be fair to her voters to resign right now. She says it would take months to hold a special election -- and her district would have no vote in Congress at a time when President Donald Trump may go to war with Syria.

"There may be a vote on going to war in Syria," she says. "There may be votes on really important issues over the next few months, and I don't think the folks who live in the 5th District should be punished for that."

Mark Barden, whose son was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, may make a run for Esty's seat, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

Go HERE to watch an extended interview with Esty.

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