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Thu, 05.21.1959

Loretta Lynch, Lawyer, and Prosecutor born

Loretta Lynch

*Loretta Lynch was born on this date in 1959. She is a Black lawyer and prosecutor.

Loretta Elizabeth Lynch was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her mother was a school librarian, and her father was a Baptist minister. As a child, she spent hours with her father, watching court proceedings in the Durham, North Carolina, courthouse. Her early fascination with court proceedings was compounded by stories of her grandfather, also a pastor, who in the 1930s helped people flee to the north to escape persecution under the Jim Crow segregation laws.  She 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.

She began her law career as a Cahill Gordon & Reindel litigation associate. Lynch first joined the Eastern District as a drug and violent crime prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's office in 1990. She was the lead prosecutor in the political corruption cases involving the government of Brookhaven, New York. From 1994 to 1998, she served as the chief of the Long Island office and became involved in 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 United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

As U.S. Attorney, Lynch oversaw the prosecution of the New York City police officers in the Abner Louima case. In 2001, Lynch left the office to become a partner at Hogan & Hartson. She remained there until January 20, 2010, when President Barack Obama nominated her to again serve as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. From 2003 to 2005, she was a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York board. She and her husband, Stephen Hargrove, married in 2007. In her personal life, she uses her married name and styles herself as Loretta Lynch Hargrove. She has two stepchildren.

Following the July 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man who died of a heart attack 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 in his death. Lynch's office indicted Republican congressman Michael Grimm; was involved in the investigation of Citigroup over mortgage securities sold by the bank, which resulted in the bank agreeing to a US$7 billion settlement; and was also involved in the US$1.2 billion settlement with HSBC over violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.

On November 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Lynch for the position of U.S. Attorney General, succeeding Eric Holder, who had previously announced his resignation pending confirmation of his replacement. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would be the first African American woman, the second African American after Holder, and the second woman after Janet Reno, to hold this office.

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