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Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Murphy doesn’t agree with Suarez on the media

‘We all believe in the First Amendment,” governor says

By Nikita Biryukov, April 04 2019 12:07 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy doesn’t agree with Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez on the media.

“I literally have no idea where that question is coming from, but I think we all believe in the First Amendment,” Gov. Phil Murphy said when asked if he thought it was appropriate for Suarez to tell residents not to read the news. “So, I know I read the news.”

Suarez has faced a firestorm of criticism on social media after she told Jersey City residents they should rely on her office’s Twitter feed instead of the state’s local newspapers Tuesday night.

The prosecutor’s comments came at a community meeting on public safety concerns following the rape and murder of a Jersey City women in Lincoln Park last month.

“I’m never one to tell you to go to either NJ.com or any of those papers for actual news,” Suarez said Tuesday. “There it goes, I said it.”

Suarez’s office took four days to announce that the death of Caroline Cano, a 45-year-old nanny who was kidnapped and raped before being strangled to death on March 24, was ruled a homicide.

Jorge Rios, a Honduran who was in the U.S. illegally and had been deported once before, was arrested on Sunday.

The story on Cano’s murder and Rios’ immigration status were first reported by NBC New York.

This isn’t the first time Suarez has drawn criticism in recent months.

She came under scrutiny for her office’s declining to file charges against former Schools Development Authority chief of staff Al Alvarez, whom state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency chief of staff Katie Brennan has accused of sexually assaulting her in April 2017.

Alvarez denies the allegations, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office, which picked up the investigation following media reports about Brennan’s allegations and a possible conflict of interest on Suarez’s part, likewise declined to pursue a case against the former Murphy transition team staffer.

The Hudson prosecutor has said she was not involved with the case, and an investigation by the Office of the State Attorney General found no evidence that Suarez acted improperly.

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