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State Sen. Michael Testa. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

State GOP asks Murphy admin to preserve COVID-19 response documents

Republicans angling to move suit to appellate division

By Nikita Biryukov, June 08 2020 1:30 pm

The Republican State Committee demanded state officials preserve documents related to New Jersey’s coronavirus response in a letter sent last week.

The letter Deputy Attorney General Christopher Weber, which was penned by State Sen. Michael Testa (R-Vineland), calls on the administration to hold documents related to business reopenings and closures made early into the COVID-19 crisis.

The Republicans also want communications sent to Murphy or State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan by Health Department officials since Feb. 1 preserved.

“As it becomes clearer that Gov Murphy’s words and promises on crisis management and the state’s economy were hollow, we felt it important to ensure that the same transparency virus that has prompted leaks and claims of scapegoating and coverups doesn’t befall the State’s emails and other electronic communications,” Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt said.

Former Assistant Commissioner of Health Chris Neuwirth, who was in charge of, public health infrastructure, laboratories and emergency preparedness for the department and oversaw emergency medical services and the state office of Disaster Resilience, was fired late last month.

Neuwirth has claimed he was scapegoated. The governor and his administration have repeatedly declined to comment on his firing, citing a policy that bars comment on personnel issues.

The Republicans are also asking the attorney general’s office to preserve memos and other forms of correspondence detailing the efficacy of various executive orders Murphy has enacted during the crisis.

In the wake of the June 4 letter, the state committee is pushing to have the case removed to the appellate division, where the case would be expedited.

NJRSC et a vs. Gov. Murp_20200604161225
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