updated 8/17/2004 10:51:36 AM ET 2004-08-17T14:51:36

The Israeli man at the center of New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey's resignation over a gay affair returned to his hometown Tuesday, saying he has had a "very difficult time."

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The brief remarks by Golan Cipel marked the first time he has spoken in public since McGreevey resigned last week.

In explaining his resignation, the married McGreevey said he is gay and had an affair with a man. Sources within the McGreevey administration named Cipel as the lover and said he had demanded millions of dollars to stay quiet.

Cipel arrived at his parents' home in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Letzion on Tuesday.

Speaking in Hebrew, he said: "I have had a very difficult time. I have come to Israel to be with my family at this time. I cannot expand on anything for legal reasons."

Cipel declined to answer reporters' questions. A spokeswoman, Einat Oren, said Cipel might stay for several weeks.

Over the weekend, Cipel told an Israeli newspaper that he is straight and that he initially had no idea that McGreevey, his former boss, is homosexual. He told the Yediot Ahronot daily that the governor had made repeated unwanted sexual advances.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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