Committee Hears Conflicting Testimony over Sexual-Assault Allegations

NJTV News | January 28, 2019 | Politics
Attorney for Murphy transition team contradicts governor’s former chief of staff

Questions continue to hound Gov. Phil Murphy over how a former campaign staffer accused of rape got a job in his administration. A special legislative committee held another hearing Friday, continuing to delve into the Murphy team’s conduct in the case.

Raj Parikh, who served as outside counsel for the Murphy transition team said he helped that team decide how to handle Katie Brennan’s then-anonymous accusation that she had been sexually assaulted by campaign worker Al Alvarez in April 2017. Parikh testified that he advised the transition staff to protect Brennan’s identity.

When asked by committee co-chair Sen. Loretta Weinberg if “at any point” he had directed “any of the aforementioned not to tell the governor,” Parikh replied, “I did not.”

That conflicts with what Murphy’s former chief of staff Pete Cammarano told the committee in December. He had said the governor wasn’t informed about the alleged assault based on advice from transition counsel, including Parikh.

Parikh insisted: “I did not tell anyone that, based upon the interactions between the governor and Al Alvarez, that they shouldn’t talk to the governor about the allegations about Al Alvarez,” Parikh said.

The committee is expected to call several more witnesses.

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