NJ Politics Digest: What Did Suarez Know and When?

Hudson County prosecutor Esther Suarez.

Hudson County prosecutor Esther Suarez. Hudson County Prosecutor

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez has repeatedly and forcefully denied she knew her office was investigating an alleged rape case involving highly placed members of Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration But NJ Advance Media reports it has obtained copies of emails Suarez allegedly received early in the investigation laying out former Murphy campaign volunteer Katie Brennan’s allegations against Al Alvarez, who she claims raped her in April 2017 following a gathering of campaign personnel.

Suarez, who knows both Alvarez and Brennan, said she didn’t know anything about the case until being questioned about it once The Wall Street Journal began pursuing the story, which was published in October 2018. Suarez’s office declined to prosecute Alvarez. Investigators in her office have backed up her claims.

But the alleged inter-office emails obtained by NJ Advance show that Suarez was included in a chain message sent to 27 people in her office only days after the alleged April 2017 incident. The emails, the report said, lays out Brennan’s claims against Alvarez.

If the emails are genuine, it would raise questions about what Suarez knew, when she knew it, and how her knowledge influenced her response to the case. It would also raise questions about the investigation by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal—a Murphy appointee—who said Suarez’s office handled the case properly. Grewal has told the legislature his investigation meant it did not need to continue its probe into the incident—a suggestion the legislature has so far ignored.

NJ Advance media said it published its story 12 days after receiving copies of the alleged emails. In its report, the news outlet said it tried to contact all 27 people included in the email chain. No one, including Suarez, disputed the authenticity of the emails, according to the NJ Advance report.
Suarez, the report notes, has said she can’t be expected to read all emails that she receives.

Quote of the Day: “The Senate president and I have spoken about this on a number of occasions. He’s got a long line of items on his to-do list—some of which we don’t agree with, many of which we do agree with, some of which are worthy of discussion,” — Gov. Phil Murphy, when asked if he would accept Senate President Steve Sweeney’s challenge to debate the best way to handle the state’s looming crisis involving public worker pensions.

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NJ Politics Digest: What Did Suarez Know and When?