A top staffer in the Office of Congressional Ethics—the congressional body in the news for lackadaisically investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by lawmakers—has been accused of verbally abusing and physically assaulting a woman in connection with a bar fight.
According to a federal lawsuit against him which was first reported by Foreign Policy on Thursday, Omar Ashmawy, the OCE’s staff director and chief counsel, grew “extremely violent and belligerent” toward two women at a bar on Valentine’s Day, 2015 in Milford, PA.
Although the night apparently began with Ashmawy taking his girlfriend out to a $400 dinner at an upscale restaurant, he ended the evening bloodied and in the back of a squad car. Ashmawy also stands accused, among other serious allegations, of “threatening to use his position as staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics to induce a criminal proceeding to be brought against Plaintiff and/or others,” the complaint said.
According to allegations contained in the suit, Ashmawy physically assaulted and harassed three women, including the bartender, that night. Although it’s not clear what led to the bar brawl, three men were later arrested and charged with assaulting Ashmawy.
Ashmawy denies any wrongdoing and maintains he was the victim of an attack. “To be clear, I did not harass anyone that evening, physically or verbally,” he wrote in a statement to FP. “To the contrary, I was the victim of a wholly unprovoked assault for which those responsible were investigated, arrested and charged. Any allegation to the contrary is unequivocally false.”