By MIKE CATALINI, Related Press
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A former authorities official who says she is a sexual assault survivor is demanding that the New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate cease utilizing her story as a “political prop” in a marketing campaign video that bashes Gov. Phil Murphy.
Katie Brennan, who has stated she was sexually assaulted by a peer whereas they each labored on Murphy’s behalf in 2017, stated Friday she wasn’t consulted earlier than Jack Ciattarelli this week launched PhilMurphyDoesNotCare.com. The location prominently includes a video of Brennan publicly testifying earlier than legislators and fees that Murphy makes use of girls as “political props.”
She stated in a tweet earlier she wasn’t a prop or a pawn herself.
“Take it down,” she stated Friday.
“I wasn’t consulted previous to the creation of the web site and the advert marketing campaign and had I been would have expressed my displeasure with it. It appears to be like like an endorsement of the Ciattarelli marketing campaign, which isn’t my intent,” she stated in a telephone interview.
She added: “There’s a option to maintain individuals accountable and discuss concerning the errors of the previous and what their imaginative and prescient and plans for betterment and fairness and reform are sooner or later with out dragging me into the battle in a means that I definitely didn’t ask to be.”
In a press release, Ciattarelli marketing campaign spokesperson Stami Williams praised Brennan and stated “she bravely got here ahead and publicly shared her story,” however she didn’t instantly tackle Brennan’s request to take away the video.
“It is an essential message and we’re dedicated to making sure that voters find out about Governor Murphy’s abysmal report because it pertains to girls,” she stated.
A message has additionally been left with Murphy’s marketing campaign.
The video reveals testimony earlier than lawmakers from Brennan, interspersed with textual content from Ciattarelli saying Murphy selected to not do something to assist her till it negatively impacted him.
This week’s improvement attracts voters’ consideration again to the #MeToo motion and the remedy of ladies in state politics, extensively acknowledged to have a poisonous historical past. Earlier than the coronavirus pandemic floor a lot in state politics to a halt, New Jersey was confronting how girls had traditionally been handled in authorities, with State Senate Majority Chief Loretta Weinberg heading a panel of ladies to analyze.
The episode additionally locations Brennan as soon as once more below the political highlight almost three years after her account dominated headlines within the state, and it comes as Murphy seeks to grow to be the primary Democrat reelected governor in 44 years. Ciattarelli is working behind Murphy in latest polls.
The previous chief of employees at New Jersey’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Company, Brennan got here ahead in 2018 saying she was sexually assaulted by Albert Alvarez in 2017 whereas each had been working to get Murphy elected.
Alvarez denied the allegations. Legislation enforcement officers declined to deliver fees citing a scarcity of proof.
Brennan’s account launched a legislative inquiry and led Murphy to rent a authorized crew to analyze the matter as properly.
The opinions discovered that Murphy’s employees botched its response to Brennan’s repeated makes an attempt to report the alleged assault and located Murphy’s administration appeared extra involved with “avoiding detrimental publicity” than following procedures to analyze totally.
The Murphy-backed inquiry discovered that Alvarez was employed for a place in state authorities regardless of Brennan’s allegations and faulted Murphy’s crew for hiring. Murphy has stated he came upon concerning the hiring solely when Brennan’s account appeared within the Wall Road Journal.
Brennan additionally sued the state and Murphy, resulting in a $1 million settlement, with many of the cash going to charities chosen by Brennan. She has since left state authorities and now works as an adviser for New York Mayor Invoice de Blasio.
Weinberg, a Democrat who was essential of how Murphy and his administration dealt with Brennan’s allegations, stopped brief Friday of calling Ciattarelli out by identify and as an alternative blasted Republicans usually. In a press release, she urged that Republicans didn’t forcefully sufficient tackle harassments and assault allegations levied towards former President Donald Trump.
“I don’t consider that those that have been silent over the 4 years of the prior Presidency and in the course of the prior Governor have any standing to now attempt to politicize these points,” she stated.
Mail-in ballots exit Sept. 18 in New Jersey, with early in-person voting set for Oct. 23-31. Election Day is Nov. 2.
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