State Senate panel approves nomination of Matt Platkin for state attorney general
Acting state Attorney General Matt Platkin is one step closer to having the job permanently as a state Senate panel approves his nomination.
“We are dealing with a rise in crime. And my first responsibility, as I said from the day I was nominated on forward, is keeping the 9 million residents of this state safe,” Platkin said.
Platkin faced a mostly friendly session of questioning in front of the state Senate Judiciary committee. But a scandal from early in the Murphy administration briefly returned.
Katie Brennan was a Murphy campaign volunteer who said she was raped by Al Alvarez, who was working for the Murphy campaign in 2017. Alvarez and Brennan got jobs with the Murphy administration. A legislative investigation revealed Brennan told Platkin what happened in 2018, but Platkin did not immediately tell the governor.
“There are things, certainly, we would have done differently with hindsight,” Platkin said. “And one of the things I said then as I said now, I would have told the governor of the specific allegation.”
Platkin also faced criticism for his role as Murphy’s chief lawyer writing pandemic restrictions and enforcing rules banning proactive cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
“Our goal is to ensure that people feel comfortable interacting with law enforcement, because when they do, they're more likely to report crimes, they're more likely to serve as witnesses and they're more likely to tell us about crimes before they occur,” Platkin said.
Platkin did receive praise for changing rules to allow police to pursue fleeing stolen cars.
He said his priority in leading the 7,700 state troopers, deputy attorneys general, investigators and other employees would include, “Combatting gun violence, fighting for racial justice, strengthening police-community relations. Promoting accountability for social media companies. Ensuring reproductive rights access.”
And despite some Republican resistance, the vote approving his nomination was bipartisan. It now heads to the full state Senate.
Lawmakers also used the summer session to approve superior court judges to fill a backlog of vacancies.