Even as candidates seeking to take over his job arrived for their first debate Thursday, former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown said he never wrote or saw the letter announcing his resignation.

Brown resigned at 1:25 a.m. on Jan. 25, hours after CTV News reported on sexual misconduct allegations.

In an interview with Global News, Brown said the resignation letter was drafted without him.

“The resignation letter was actually sent out on my behalf without my permission at the time,” he said.

“I thought I would have been shown the email or a draft of what was being prepared, and then I found that it was all done.”

Reports soon surfaced Thursday advancing the theory that Brown could still be the party’s leader, and that the leadership race itself is illegal.

Brown said on Twitter: “I appreciate the enthusiasm but I did not authorize this. I am solely focused on clearing my name, not technicalities.”

In trying to clear his name, Brown is again attacking the young women who accused him of sexual misconduct. In a Facebook post, Brown dismissed their stories as “fictitious and malicious,” claiming they’re lying.

The first case happened about 10 years ago, inside his Barrie, Ont. home. A young woman says he offered her a tour. She was drunk and Brown, a federal member of Parliament at the time, was sober. She says that once in his bedroom, he told her to perform oral sex.

“He kind of shut the door on me and started making moves,” the woman told CTV News.

The second woman was a 19-year-old summer student in Brown’s Barrie office. In 2013, after a charity event, he had an after party in his home again. The 19-year-old staffer was drunk; the 35-year-old MP was sober.

“I was laying there immobile and he kept kissing me,” she said.

Brown says she’s lying. His ex-girlfriend, Mikaela Patterson, was also there.

“I saw him go upstairs and then I vaguely remember her going upstairs,” Patterson told Global News. “I just remember him coming down and being like, ‘I’m driving her home.’”

The accuser’s identity was leaked and widely circulated online, exposing her to intense harassment.

“With Brown’s most recent statements, I certainly expect it to worsen,” she said in a statement.

“I do not take the allegation of being a liar lightly.”

Brown has challenged the women to take their allegations to police.

There’s no requirement to do that, according to Marcy Segal, a former Toronto criminal defence lawyer who is now a litigator and advocate for victims’ rights.

“I wouldn’t say it’s appropriate to bait these people, because if you’re a victim you don’t have to go to the police in order to prove you have been sexually assaulted,” she said. “There’s no requirement to do that.”

Brown has also vowed to sue CTV over the story. The network has not been served with any lawsuit and CTV lawyers, contrary to what has been suggested, are not in negotiation with Brown’s lawyers.

Statement from CTV News:

CTV News stands by our reporting and will actively defend against any legal action. We welcome the opportunity to defend our journalism in court. - Matthew Garrow, Director of Communications, CTV News

With a report from CTV’s Glen McGregor in Ottawa