Murphy to nominate former chief counsel Platkin as N.J.’s next attorney general

Published: Feb. 02, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy will announce Thursday he plans to nominate Matt Platkin, his former chief counsel and a longtime confidant, to become New Jersey’s next attorney general, the highest law enforcement position in the state, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to NJ Advance Media.

The Democratic governor will make the announcement during an 11 a.m. news conference at the Trenton War Memorial.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday night because they are not authorized to publicly discuss Platkin’s nomination.

The 35-year-old Montclair resident will succeed Andrew Bruck, who has served as acting attorney general since Gurbil Grewal resigned last July.

Platkin is expected to hold eventually the job in an acting capacity until his nomination is considered by the state Senate, two sources said. But Bruck may continue to serve for an unspecified time.

Other finalists for the post were assistant U.S. Attorney Jamel Semper and state Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Essex, according to sources.

Platkin declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday night.

Born in Livingston and raised in Florham Park and Morristown, Platkin has been a member of Murphy’s inner circle for years. A graduate of graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School, he was an early aide to the former Wall Street executive and U.S. diplomat before Murphy even launched a gubernatorial bid.

He was then a top advisor to Murphy’s 2017 campaign, helping craft his policy platform, including proposals to further tighten gun control in New Jersey and another to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour — which have since become law.

After Murphy was elected, Platkin served as the first chief counsel in the governor’s administration, a job he held from early 2018 to late 2020. He notably helped shape Murphy’s sweeping executive orders during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Platkin left that job last year to become a partner at the politically connected North Jersey law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP.

In an interview with NJ Advance Media when Platkin departed, Murphy called him “an incredible talent and an incredible human being.”

“He may be moving out of government, but I expect to be standing side by side with him for a long time,” Murphy said.

Platkin also drew headlines for his role in how Murphy’s administration responded to a rape allegation against a top staffer during the governor’s 2017 campaign. A legislative panel that investigated the matter accused senior officials, including Platkin, of mishandling the accusation, misleading lawmakers, and failing the accuser, Katie Brennan.

Platkin told lawmakers he thought confidentiality rules barred him from telling Murphy about Brennan’s allegation. But lawmakers found there was no legal justification for not looping the governor in. The panel’s final report accused Platkin of making weighty decisions “based on one hour of (Equal Employment Opportunity) training” and without consulting an employment lawyer.

Brennan also sued the state and later settled with New Jersey and Murphy’s campaign for $1 million.

NJ Globe was the first to report Platkin’s pending nomination on Wednesday.

Christopher Porrino, a former state attorney general who also served as chief counsel under former Gov. Chris Christie, tweeted that Platkin is “an excellent choice” and a “brilliant lawyer and legal strategist.” Porrino is a partner at the law firm where Platkin currently works.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-02-03 03:35:34 -0800