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

Verniero: No evidence Murphy knew about Alvarez allegations

By Nikita Biryukov, February 06 2019 9:49 am

A report drafted by former State Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero did not find any evidence that Gov. Phil Murphy was personally involved in the hiring of former Schools Development Authority chief of staff Al Alvarez.

Language on a document on Alvarez’s hiring on Murphy’s transition team said Murphy, then governor-elect, requested Alvarez be brought onto the transition team.

“The Governor-elect has requested the captioned employee be hired as a member of the new Transition Team at the salary requested and on the effective date identified,” the document said, according to Verniero’s report.

But, the state treasury official who prepared the document told Verniero’s team that that was form language that was not meant to imply Murphy personally hired Alvarez.

Such language, he told Verniero’s team, was used for other transition employees.

Though it confirmed members of Murphy’s staff, including former chief of staff Pete Cammarano and chief counsel Matt Platkin knew of the allegations against Alvarez, Verniero’s report found no evidence that Murphy was aware of the same before a Wall Street Journal reporter reached out to his team for comment on the same on Oct. 2, 2018.

State Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency chief of staff Katie Brennan has accused Alvarez of sexually assaulting her in April 2017, when Alvarez was in charge of Muslim and Latino outreach for Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign, for which Brennan would later volunteer.

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