Loretta Lynch

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Loretta Lynch
Loretta Lynch, official portrait.jpg
83rd United States Attorney General
In office
April 27, 2015 – January 20, 2017
President Barack Obama
Deputy Sally Yates
Preceded by Eric Holder
Succeeded by Jeff Sessions
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
In office
May 8, 2010 – April 27, 2015
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Benton Campbell
Succeeded by Robert Capers
In office
June 2, 1999 – May 2, 2001
President Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded by Zachary Carter
Succeeded by Roslynn Mauskopf
Personal details
Born Loretta Elizabeth Lynch
(1959-05-21) May 21, 1959 (age 63)
Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.
Spouse(s) Stephen Hargrove (2007–present)
Education Harvard University (BA, JD)

Loretta Elizabeth Lynch (born May 21, 1959) is an American attorney who served as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2015 to succeed Eric Holder. Previously, she held the position for United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York under both the Clinton (1999–2001) and Obama administrations (2010–15). As U.S. Attorney, Lynch oversaw federal prosecutions in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.

Lynch graduated from Harvard Law School in 1984. She then practiced law in New York and became a federal prosecutor in 1990, rising to become head of the Eastern District office. She later returned to private law practice, until she again became the top district prosecutor. From 2003 to 2005, she served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

On November 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated her to succeed Eric Holder as Attorney General.[1] On February 26, 2015, the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate recommended her confirmation by a 12–8 vote, with all Democrats of the committee and three Republicans in favor. On April 23, 2015, Lynch was confirmed by the Senate by a 56–43 vote, making her the second African-American, the second woman, and the first African-American woman to be confirmed for the position. She was sworn in as Attorney General on April 27, 2015.

Early life and education

Lynch was born on May 21, 1959, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her mother was a school librarian and her father a Baptist minister.[2][3][4] As a child, she spent hours with her father, watching court proceedings in the courthouse of Durham, North Carolina. Her early interest in court proceedings was compounded by stories of her grandfather, a sharecropper and pastor, who in the 1930s helped people move to the north to escape persecution under the racist Jim Crow laws of the time.[2][5] Lynch earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and American literature from Harvard College in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1984, where she was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.[6][7] She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and was a charter member of the Xi Tau chapter of the sorority while at Harvard.[8][9]


Early life

Lynch's first legal job was as a litigation associate for Cahill Gordon & Reindel. She joined the Eastern District as a drug and violent-crime prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office in 1990. From 1994 to 1998, she served as the chief of the Long Island office and worked on several political corruption cases involving the government of Brookhaven, New York. From 1998 to 1999, she was the chief assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District and headed the Brooklyn office.

In 1999, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.[10] During her term as U.S. Attorney, Lynch oversaw prosecution of New York City police officers in the Abner Louima case.

In 2001, Lynch left the U.S. Attorney's office to become a partner at Hogan & Hartson (later Hogan Lovells). She remained there until January 20, 2010, when President Barack Obama nominated Lynch to again serve as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.[7][11] From 2003 to 2005, she was a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[12]

Following the July 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died after being held in a department-prohibited chokehold by a New York City police officer, Lynch agreed to meet with Garner's family to discuss possible federal prosecution of the officer believed to be responsible for Garner's death.[13][14]

Lynch's office prosecuted Republican congressman Michael Grimm; prosecuted Democratic politicians Pedro Espada Jr. and William Boyland, Jr.; investigated Citigroup over mortgage securities sold by the bank, resulting in a US$7 billion settlement; and was involved in the US$1.2 billion settlement with HSBC over violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.[2][15][16]

While Lynch was US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she supervised the investigation into senior FIFA officials from its earliest stages. The investigation culminated in the indictment of 14 senior FIFA officials and sports marketing executives shortly after Lynch was confirmed as Attorney General.[17] For her work in the 2015 FIFA corruption case, Lynch was presented with the 3rd annual Golden Blazer by Roger Bennett and Michael Davies.[18] Replacing Lynch, Robert Capers was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York on December 15, 2015, taking his oath of office on January 4, 2016.[19][20]

Attorney General of the United States


On November 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Lynch for the position of U.S. Attorney General, to succeed Eric Holder, who had previously announced his resignation, pending confirmation of his replacement. She was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 26, 2015, and approved by the Senate in a 56-43 vote on April 23,[21] thereby becoming the first African-American woman; the second African-American after Holder; and the second woman, after Janet Reno; to hold this office.[1][22]

Eight Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including the chairman, Chuck Grassley, had opposed Lynch's confirmation after what Democrats criticized as a record-long delay. Grassley defended delays in holding the vote, saying it was important to gather more information on Lynch’s role in settling a $1.9 billion money-laundering deal with HSBC when she served as United States Attorney in New York. Republican Senator David Vitter criticized recent admissions by Lynch that she had failed to find out about separate documents revealing HSBC's role in helping clients hide money offshore before agreeing not to prosecute the bank.[23] Rand Paul, though not on the committee, opposed her nomination for her support of civil forfeiture.[24] On April 23, 2015, cloture was invoked on her nomination by a vote of 66 to 34.[25] Her appointment was confirmed the same day by a 56 to 43 vote.[21][26] Her nomination process was one of the longest in the history of the United States, taking 166 days after she was first nominated for the post.[27] She was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on April 27, 2015.[28]


Lynch at the Oval Office following the San Bernardino shooting, December 2015

In July 2015, after the Charleston church shooting, Lynch announced the suspected shooter Dylann Roof would be charged with a hate crime.[29] On May 24, 2016, she further announced that the Justice Department would seek the death penalty for Roof.[30]

On December 7, 2015, Lynch stated the Justice Department would be investigating the Chicago Police Department to see if there was a potential violation of civil rights in the case of Laquan McDonald.[31]

On March 3, 2016, following the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Lynch said charges would be filed soon against participants in the standoff while appearing in Portland, Oregon to commemorate the community's policing.[32]

After the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Lynch's name was mentioned as being a potential nominee to replace him. On March 8, a Justice Department spokesperson said Lynch had asked the White House to withdraw her from consideration.[33]

In April 2016, Lynch took an active role in addressing what she called the difficulty of re-entry into society by felons, writing an op-ed[34] and making public appearances in support of raising awareness of this blight on their transition,[35] also calling on governors to make it easier for released felons to achieve state-issued identification.[36]

In May 2016, Lynch delivered the commencement address at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

In June 2016, in response to the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Lynch made multiple appearances on television news shows to highlight the ongoing investigation of the FBI,[37] disclosing that edited transcripts of the conversation between the shooter, Omar Mateen, and the FBI negotiators would be released.[38] On June 21, Lynch traveled to Orlando to both meet with survivors and inquire into the ongoing investigation, also bringing with her $1 million in emergency funding for Florida, Orange County, and Orlando to help pay for overtime and other investigative costs.[39]

In October 2016, Lynch removed the Brooklyn FBI agents and federal prosecutors from the death of Eric Garner case, replacing them with agents from outside New York.[40] The local FBI agents and federal prosecutors had determined that charges should not be brought in the case, prompting strong disagreement from attorneys in the Washington, D.C. office of the Department's Civil Rights Division.[40] Lynch’s intervention has been called “highly unusual”.[40]


On June 27, 2016, Lynch and former President Bill Clinton met privately aboard Lynch's Justice Department jet which was parked on the tarmac in Phoenix. ABC15 Phoenix reporter Christopher Sign broke the story on June 29, citing unnamed sources.[41] The following day, during a press conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Lynch denied the conversation was about the Hillary Clinton email controversy, or any matters pertaining to it; saying the conversation involved personal social topics such as travels, golf and grandchildren.[42] On July 1, 2016, Lynch swore she would "fully accept" the recommendation of the FBI and prosecutors regarding the email probe, and admitted that she understood how the meeting was raising "questions and concerns", and that she "certainly wouldn't do it again".[43] On July 6, a day after FBI Director James Comey recommended not pressing charges against Clinton, Lynch confirmed the Justice Department had opted to not pursue charges against Clinton and would close the probe into her private email server.[44] On July 12, Lynch testified before Republican lawmakers, but declined to elaborate on the legal basis of the Justice Department's choice to not prosecute Clinton.[45]

On June 8, 2017, former head of the FBI James Comey testified under oath that Loretta Lynch had instructed him (during the course of a private conversation) to not refer to the Clinton email scandal as an "investigation" and instead refer to it as a "matter". He also said that the directive, combined with Lynch's unusual Arizona tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton, led him to make his independent announcement regarding the Clinton email probe last July. In his closely watched Senate Intelligence Committee testimony otherwise devoted to discussing the circumstances of his firing, Comey said that tarmac meeting was a "deciding factor" in his decision to act alone to update the public on the Clinton probe—and protect the bureau's reputation. "There were other things, significant items," he added, citing how "the Attorney General directed me not to call it an investigation and call it a matter—which confused me."“That was one of the bricks in the load that I needed to step away from the department,” Comey said, later adding he was concerned Lynch was trying to align the DOJ’s comments with the way the campaign was talking about the probe. “That gave me a queasy feeling”, he said.[46][47][48]

In June 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee launched a bipartisan investigation into whether Lynch tried to interfere with the Hillary Clinton email investigation. "I'd like to hear what Loretta Lynch’s explanation for that is, either by having her come to the Hill or by having her speak publicly. It does give me a queasy feeling as well", said Democratic Representative Adam Schiff on CNN's State of the Union.[49]

Subsequent activities

Speaking at a Kennedy School of Government conference on April 7, 2017, Lynch urged the current members of the Justice Department to view Americans as their clients.[50]

Personal life

Lynch married Stephen Hargrove in 2007. In her personal life she uses her married name, Loretta Lynch Hargrove. Her husband has two children from a previous marriage.[2][51]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Loretta Lynch, Federal Prosecutor, Will Be Nominated for Attorney General". The New York Times. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Clifford, Stephanie (November 8, 2014). "Loretta Lynch, a Nominee for Attorney General, Is Praised for Substance, Not Flash". New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Obama to tap Loretta Lynch for AG", AP/New York Post, November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  4. Joseph P. Fried (July 14, 1999). "Schumer Urges Carter's Aide For U.S. Post". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Attorneys at the top succeeding in spite of dismal diversity trends", The Network Journal, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  6. "Biographical Information for Loretta Lynch", AP/ABC News. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 The White House: Office of the Press Secretary (January 20, 2010). "President Obama Nominates Five to Serve as U.S. Attorneys". WhiteHouse.gov. Retrieved March 13, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Rhodan, Maya (January 15, 2015). "Loretta Lynch's Sorority Sisters Came to Her Attorney General Confirmation Hearing". Retrieved April 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Xi Tau History". Retrieved April 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Woodrow, Stephanie (February 12, 2010). "Meet Loretta E. Lynch". Main Justice. Retrieved March 13, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Sulzberger, A. G. (January 20, 2010). "Obama Picks Loretta E. Lynch for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney". New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Loretta E. Lynch, NNDB, 2014.
  13. Genevieve Belmaker, "Calls for Calm Ahead of Staten Island Rally in NYC", Faith in New York, August 21, 2014.
  14. Tom Hays, "Family of man killed by NYPD chokehold talks to feds", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 22, 2014.
  15. Aruna Viswanatha and Julia Edwards. "Brooklyn Prosecutor Loretta Lynch Emerges As A Top Candidate For Attorney General". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "United States of America vs HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and HSBC Holdings Pl. Memorandum and Order July 1, 2013". Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  17. Apuzzo, Matt; Clifford, Stephanie; Rashbaum, William (May 27, 2015). "FIFA Inquiry Yields Indictments; U.S. Officials Vow to Pursue More". New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch Talked FIFA Corruption On Men In Blazers". Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  19. Casey, Nicholas (October 8, 2015). "Robert Capers, Brooklyn Prosecutor, Nominated for U.S. Attorney Post". New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Meet the U.S. Attorney: Robert L. Capers, The United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Athena Jones, "Loretta Lynch makes history", CNN, April 23, 2015.
  22. "Obama picks NY prosecutor Lynch to be next attorney general", Yahoo! News, November 8, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  23. Dan Roberts, "Loretta Lynch's nomination for attorney general approved despite HSBC scandal", The Guardian, February 26, 2015.
  24. "Rand Paul Won't Back Loretta Lynch For Attorney General".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". senate.gov. January 27, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". senate.gov. January 27, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch as Attorney General 166 Days After Nomination". ABC news. Retrieved April 27, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Loretta Lynch Is Sworn In as Attorney General". New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Abdullah, Halimah (July 22, 2015). "AG Lynch: Dylann Roof Indicted on 33 Counts, Hate Crime Charges".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Johnson, Kevin (May 24, 2016). "Lynch: Justice Dept. to seek death penalty against Dylan Roof". USA Today.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Rodgers, Phil (December 7, 2015). "U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch Announces Probe Into Chicago Police Department".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "AG: More Charges Coming 'Very Soon' In Masher Occupation". opb.org. March 3, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. Helm, Angela Bronner (March 8, 2016). "Loretta Lynch Asks to Be Withdrawn From SCOTUS Consideration". theroot.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "Loretta Lynch: Remove roadblocks faced by former prisoners re-entering society". USA Today. April 27, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. "Attorney General Loretta Lynch To Visit Mobile". wkrg.com. April 28, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. "Loretta Lynch to States: Ease Way for Ex-prisoners to Get IDs". newsmax.com. April 25, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Wolf, Richard (June 18, 2016). "Attorney General Loretta Lynch to dominate news shows". USA Today.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. "ATTORNEY GENERAL LORETTA LYNCH SAYS INVESTIGATION INTO ORLANDO GUNMAN OMAR MATEEN MOVING FORWARD". abc7chicago.com. June 19, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. Pearson, Michael (June 21, 2016). "Attorney general visits Orlando". CNN.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Matt Apuzzo; Adam Goldman; William K. Rashbaum (October 25, 2016). "Justice Dept. Shakes Up Inquiry Into Eric Garner Chokehold Case". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved October 26, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. Sign, Christopher (July 4, 2016). "Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton meet privately in Phoenix".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. "Bill Clinton and AG Loretta Lynch meet privately". CNN. June 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. Levine, Mike (July 1, 2016). "Attorney General Loretta Lynch Calls It 'Perfectly Reasonable' to Question Bill Clinton Meeting".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. "Attorney General Loretta Lynch says DOJ will not pursue charges against Clinton". Politico.com. July 6, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. Slack, Donovan (July 12, 2016). "GOP lawmakers grill attorney general over Clinton emails, get few answers". USA Today.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. CNN, Tal Kopan (June 8, 2017). "Comey: Lynch asked for Clinton investigation to be called a 'matter'". CNN. Retrieved August 14, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  47. Singman, Brooke (June 8, 2017). "Comey says Lynch tarmac meeting, directive to downplay probe prompted him to go rogue on Clinton case". FoxNews.com. Retrieved August 14, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  48. "Comey: Lynch told me not to call probe of Clinton emails an investigation". USAToday.com. June 8, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  49. Parkinson, John (June 23, 2017). "Senate probes Loretta Lynch's alleged interference in Clinton email investigation". ABC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  50. "Former AG Lynch: Americans Are Clients of Justice Dept". Newsmax.com. April 7, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  51. "Obama To Nominate Loretta Lynch As U.S. Attorney General", AP/Huffington Post, November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.

Further reading

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Eric Holder
United States Attorney General
Succeeded by
Jeff Sessions