Hudson County Prosecutor Defends Actions in Brennan Case

NJTV News | January 25, 2019 | More Issues
Esther Suarez says she was unaware of rape allegation by Murphy campaign staffer until after her office declined to press charges

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez spoke about the handling by her office of the rape allegation at the center of a controversy that has roiled the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy.

Suarez said, in an interview with NJTV News, that she and Katie Brennan were part of a group that dined at a Jersey City restaurant two months after Suarez’s office declined to press charges against Al Alvarez, the Murphy administration official Brennan had accused of raping her. Brennan said nothing to her about the case, Suarez recalled. “She had opportunity to talk to me, and I would have, very much, very much, wished, would have liked, for her to have grabbed me and said, ‘Hey Esther, maybe not right now, maybe tomorrow, can we talk? I’ve had a problem with your office,” Suarez said.

Suarez said she is offended by suggestions she had a close personal relationship with Alvarez. “It’s offensive. And the reason why I find it so offensive is that someone with the last name of Suarez, to allege that I could possibly have such a close relationship with someone with the last name of Alvarez smacks of racism,” she said.

The handling of Brennan’s accusation against Alvarez and his hiring to a senior post in the governor’s administration have been the center of controversy for the governor and the focus of legislative hearings over the hiring practices of his administration.

On Tuesday, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office, which had been asked to review the case, declined to bring charges against Alvarez, who had denied the allegation.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.