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February 03, 2022

Gov. Murphy nominates Matt Platkin as next New Jersey attorney general

Platkin vowed to stem violent crime and protect civil rights during an introductory press conference

Gov. Phil Murphy has tapped his former chief counsel to serve as New Jersey's attorney general.

Matt Platkin, a 35-year-old lawyer from Montclair, is expected to take over on Feb. 14. He's currently awaiting confirmation from the state Senate.

He will replace interim Attorney General Andrew Bruck who was appointed in July after Gurbir Grewal resigned to take a position in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Murphy lauded Platkin's legal skills and empathy during a press conference held Thursday at the Trenton War Memorial.

"My highest priority will always be keeping our residents safe," Platkin said. "We will not shy away from tough fights when they are the right fights."

Platkin highlighted his intention to stem violent crime and protect civil rights. He singled out polluters and predatory lenders as potential targets.

Platkin, who was born in Essex County and raised in Morris County, was an early volunteer in Murphy's 2017 gubernatorial campaign and served as the administration's chief counsel between 2018 and 2020, when he left to become a partner at Lowenstein Sandler LLP.

In the early days of the pandemic, Platkin helped Murphy craft the executive orders that have defined the state's response to COVID-19, reported. He became a fixture in the governor's press conferences at the time, fielding legal questions about the state's virus mitigation efforts.

Platkin previously drew criticism for his role in the way Murphy's administration handled a rape allegation against a top campaign staffer. At Platkin's instruction, Murphy was not notified about the allegations at the time. A legislative committee that investigated the incident found there was no legal justification for that decision. 

Some New Jersey Democrats, including former state Senate President Steve Sweeney, called for Platkin to step down at the time.

Platkin earned his law degree from Stanford Law School. He previously spent time working at the Brookings Institution in Washington and practicing law at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City. He also served as special counsel to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker during former President Donald Trump's first impeachment trial.