Murphy Lifts Gag on Workers Who Cited ‘Toxic’ Campaign, Sex Assault
TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy put it in writing that anyone who worked on his 2017 gubernatorial campaign is free to speak about their experience despite having signed a confidentiality agreement.
The agreement had become an issue following the allegations of rape made by one-time campaign worker Katie Brennan against Al Alvarez, a fellow Phil Murphy campaign worker she accuses of sexually assaulting her at her Jersey City apartment. Murphy at first would not lift the agreement to allow Brennan and others to speak without the threat of a lawsuit.
Murphy in November said that anyone who wanted to speak out was free to do so but nothing formal was issued by the governor to back up his words. Most non-disclosure agreements carry a heavy financial penalty and possible legal action for violations.
Criticism increased after the State of the State address when Murphy said he was "disgusted" by the stories of women being mistreated sexually by men who felt "empowered, if not protected, by Trenton's culture."
Julie Roginsky, a political advisor who left the campaign in July 2017, told NJ.com's Tom Moran in an interview that was first published on Sunday that she had continued to be threatened by "people in the governor's organization" if she spoke about what she called "the most toxic workplace environment I have ever seen in 25 years of working on political campaigns,"
Roginsky told Moran she has evidence to back up her story about why she left the campaign, saying that it is more than a "he said, she said" situation.
Murphy released a written statement on Tuesday that said there had been a "misunderstanding" about the obligations of the confidentiality agreement and that his only concern was to protect proprietary information.
“I value anyone’s right to come forward with any concerns over workplace issues, and I will now ensure that there is no doubt that our deeds match our words. Although I’ve said it many times, I have directed lawyers from the campaign to make it clear to anyone that they are legally free to speak about workplace issues on the campaign.”
Roginsky told NJ.com she had received a copy of the letter but did not have any further comment.