Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Wantage) wants the U.S. Attorney to oversee a probe Gov. Phil Murphy’s hiring of an alleged rapist and criticized the governor’s selection of Peter Verniero to head the internal investigation.
“History has proven that so-called independent investigations by past administrations into their own actions are fallible,” said Wirths, who served in Gov. Chris Christie’s cabinet as Commissioner of Labor. “Having the U.S. attorney to investigate the charges against Alvarez, and the handling of it by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and, obviously, the Murphy administration will avoid any further conflicts and allow us to find truth.”
Wirths said that the Verniero appointment to investigate the hiring of Albert Alvarez comes with potential conflicts, since his law firm has a public contract with the state and that his law partners raised money for Murphy’s 2017 campaign.
Verniero’s firm, Sills Cummis & Gross, also contributed $100,000 to the Democratic Governor’s Association last year.
Wirths also pointed out that Verniero was caught up in a racial profiling scandal when he served as state Attorney General in the late 1990’s, and that issue was also overseen by the Department of Justice.