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State Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield)

Diegnan: Roginsky accusations disturbing

Senator stops short of criticizing Murphy

By Nikita Biryukov, January 27 2020 12:39 pm

State Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) said he was incredibly disturbed by accusations of misogyny and retaliation in Gov. Phil Murphy’s 2017 campaign made by Democratic strategist Julie Roginsky.

“If you’re not disturbed, I mean — I think everybody recognizes it,” Diegnan said. “I guess it shows we were not diligent and aware enough of what the heck is going on, and we’ve got to stop it, plain and simple.”

In a Star Ledger story published Sunday, Roginsky said she faced retaliation after informing Murphy about “rank misogyny” by email.

The strategist told the Ledger campaign manager Brendan Gill used the C-word during an argument with her.

She further alleged that Gill began to retaliate against her after she reported him soliciting clients based on his access to Murphy, whose candidacy for governor was considered almost certain to succeed.

Gill denies both charges, claiming Roginsky was seeking to mislead to the public.

Diegnan stopped short of criticizing Murphy over the incident despite the apparent mistruths repeated by the governor over the past several months.

“The premise that women should not be subject to the type of the harassment that Julie described, I can’t imagine that anybody doesn’t agree with that,” Diegnan said. “The details, obviously, that will be worked out in time of this particular incident, but it’s got to stop. Plain and simple, it’s got to stop.”

The entirety of Diegnan’s district covers portions of Middlesex County. Roginsky is a close ally of Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, whose base of power is in Middlesex.

Over the past several months, Murphy has repeatedly said he was unaware of any accusations alleging a toxic culture within his campaign. He also repeatedly claimed non-disclosure agreements signed by campaign staff did not prevent them from discussing the campaign’s culture issues.

Emails sent or received by Roginsky contradict Murphy on both counts.

Still, Diegnan said the governor would be an ally in the fight against harassment.

“The good news is everybody agrees: Enough is enough already,” he said.

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