A top lawyer for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver made multiple requests for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to represent both the chamber and Silver in the ongoing lawsuits filed by women accusing ex-lawmaker Vito Lopez of sexual harassment and was turned down.

Documents obtained by Capital Tonight through the Freedom of Information Law show former Assembly counsel Bill Collins in June requested the attorney general represent the Assembly in the harassment suits filed by the legislative staffers, Victoria Burhans and Cloe Rivera.

In a letter dated June 20, Collins was formally turned down by Deputy Attorney General Megan Levine, who indicated Collins sought the AG’s representation multiple times.

“As I explained in our prior conversations, we have concluded it would be inappropriate to have the Attorney General represent the speaker in these matters,” Levine wrote. “Among other things, in these matters, staff of the Office of the Attorney General may potentially be called as witness.”

A month later, the Assembly and law firm Hogan Lovells formalized a contract to represent the chamber and Silver in the harassment suits.

The staffers are suing the Assembly and, in a separate filing, both Lopez and Silver.

The contract, obtained in the same FOIL request, retains Hogan Lovells at $500 a hour, and is capped at $250,000 at the state’s expense.

While state employees are entitled to representation by the attorney general’s office if sued over actions taken in the course of their official duties, Schneiderman’s office provided general guidance to the Assembly as it was putting together a settlement for legislative aides who had accused Lopez of harassment.

Silver has apologized for his handling of the sexual harassment complaints leveled at Lopez, who resigned after a Joint Commission on Public Ethics report laid out a pattern fo abusive behavior and harassment by the Brooklyn Democrat. Silver has also apologized for keeping the $103,000 settlement a secret.

Lopez had also sought representation from the attorney general’s office and was turned down by the AG’s office; he is using his well of campaign funds to pay for the representation.

Collins left the Assembly this summer after it came to light complaints that Assemblyman Micha Kellner had harassed aides in 2008 had not gotten passed his desk.

FR2013-506 Contract C111944_ISO (2) by Nick Reisman