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Williams 'burdened' by Craig allegations

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/09/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">A jury deciding on the highly complex lawsuit against former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has begun deliberating its verdict</span> © Getty images A jury deciding on the highly complex lawsuit against former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has begun deliberating its verdict Jordan Williams seemed "genuinely troubled" and morally conflicted when he went looking for advice about whether to tell the Conservative Party about allegations of sexual harassment by former leader Colin Craig, a court has heard.

Taxpayers' Union executive director Mr Williams is suing Mr Craig for defamation over comments Mr Craig made in a leaflet sent to 1.6 million homes and at a press conference in July last year.

Mr Williams says Mr Craig claimed he had spread lies and fabricated documents explaining the reasons behind Ms MacGregor's sudden resignation before the 2014 national election.

On Thursday, lawyer and former ACT politician Stephen Franks told the High Court at Auckland Mr Williams had come to him for advice about whether to warn a mutual friend about allegations of impropriety made about Mr Craig following the election.

Mr Franks said over a series of meetings, Mr Williams was reluctant to give out details of what Ms MacGregor had described - not wanting to breach her confidence - and was "tormented" by the possible effect media attention could have on her.

"He was very anxious she wasn't left as the person regarded as a liar."

Mr Williams was also genuinely troubled and conflicted about his obligation to those that could be harmed by association with Mr Craig, Mr Franks said.

Earlier, former Auckland councillor Aaron Bhatnagar told the court he was waiting for an apology from Mr Craig about "reckless" and "half-cocked" allegations.

He said Mr Craig's pamphlet had described him as a "political rival" of Mr Williams and said Mr Williams had been saving up "ammunition" - including text messages - to use against Mr Bhatnagar.

"Mr Craig has surely confused me with some other person," he said, adding he had actually donated to Mr Williams' union and stood behind him.

"I would welcome a letter of apology from Mr Craig."

Mr Williams has told the court he went to senior party officials out of concern for Ms MacGregor after she had confided in him about alleged sexual harassment by Mr Craig, including inappropriate touching, comments, and romantic letters and poems.

Ms MacGregor said there had been sexual harassment for a long period of time and that she had also not been paid for months of work when she quit in September 2014.

The trial continues.

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