Gov. Phil Murphy said today that while he does not personally know Sean Caddle, the former political aide who admitted to hiring two men to kill an associate, he was likely in the same room as Caddle during the 2017 race for governor, when Murphy faced Caddle’s boss, former State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth).
“Someone has told me that he was associated with Ray Lesniak’s 2017 run for governor,” Murphy said. “I must have [seen him], because we were in rooms together before walking out on debates with people’s senior teams. But I don’t ever recall having a personal interaction. That’s the only place I think it could have happened.”
The governor added that he was surprised by the charges announced by U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger last week, but that he has no other specific comment.
“No reaction to the plea, other than my jaw hit the floor,” he said. “You just can’t believe stuff like that happens, but apparently it does.”
According to Sellinger, Caddle hired two men, Bomani Africa and George Bratsenis, to kill former Jersey City council candidate Michael Galdieri nearly eight years ago. In May 2014, Africa and Bratsenis stabbed Galdieri and set fire to his apartment in a case that went unsolved for years afterwards.
In addition to working for Lesniak, Caddle ran a number of PACs and groups that operated as recently as 2020, meaning that Murphy is likely far from the only state politician who has seen or interacted with Caddle at some point during his career.