KIYC: Murphy attorney now says women can talk about workplace issues on campaign
The attorney for Gov. Phil Murphy’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign has pulled an apparent about-face, telling a former campaign consultant in writing that despite nondisclosure agreements, she and other former employees, consultants and volunteers are now free to speak about a workplace environment that some have called “toxic.”
The governor has insisted for months that lawyers for his campaign have never tried to silence women from talking about workplace issues at his campaign.
“Nothing is, nor will be, in place to prevent someone to raise their hand and come forward about anything that relates to a hostile work environment,” Murphy said last week on Ask Gov. Murphy on News 12 New Jersey.
But even as the governor was making those comments, a Kane In Your Corner investigation found his campaign attorney, Paul Josephson, was doing the opposite, in a six-month court battle against Katie Brennan, a former campaign volunteer who says she was raped by a former Murphy campaign official. Like many at the campaign, Brennan signed an NDA promising not to reveal any “confidential” or “proprietary” information.
Brennan’s attorney Katy McClure filed a motion in July contending the NDA’s definition of confidential information was so broad that it essentially silenced Brennan. She asked the court to instruct the Murphy campaign to “inform every campaign worker who has executed an NDA that they are permitted to speak on any issues of the Campaign’s alleged ‘toxic’ environment.” Josephson opposed the motion, and the court fight has now dragged on since then, with no end in sight. The motion is scheduled to be heard next in February.
On Tuesday, however, Josephson seemingly agreed to those same conditions in a letter to former Murphy campaign consultant Julie Roginsky, who has been outspoken about the existence of workplace issues, while insisting her NDA did not allow her to give specific details. “If anyone – employees, volunteers or consultants – would like to discuss workplace issues on his campaign, she or he is free to speak about it publicly,” Josephson wrote.
It’s unclear whether the letter will settle matters. McClure tells Kane In Your Corner that her motion is still pending; the Murphy campaign has not yet dropped its opposition to it. Roginsky confirmed she has received the campaign attorney’s letter and says she is reviewing it.