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Chertoff praised as good choice to run Homeland Security, work with both parties [The Associated Press by Donna De La Cruz] When President Clinton took office, he fired all the U.S. attorneys who had served under his Republican predecessor except one: New Jersey U.S. Attorney Michael Chertoff. Chertoff had won support from a high-profile Democrat, then-Sen. Bill Bradley, who asked that he be kept on.

That’s as good an example as any that as

Ivey, now Prince George’s County, MD,

tions of Jersey City Mayor Gerald McCann,

Homeland Security secretary, Chertoff would

state’s attorney, said that Chertoff is “not go-

New York chief judge Sol Wachtler, and the

be able to work with members of both par-

ing to be Mr. Congeniality, but maybe that’s

kidnappers and killers of Exxon executive

ties, his supporters say.

what you need” to force 22 different agencies

Sidney Reso. Chertoff personally handled the

inside the Homeland Security Department to

stock fraud trial of Eddie Antar, founder of

work smoothly together.

the failed Crazy Eddie discount electronics

New Jersey Sens. Jon Corzine and Frank


Lautenberg, both Democrats, praised President Bush’s nomination of the Elizabeth,

Chertoff headed the Justice Department’s

NJ, native, with Corzine calling him “one of

criminal division from 2001 to 2003, where

Chertoff graduated magna cum laude from

the most able people and public servants he

he played a central role in the nation’s legal

Harvard Law School and went on to clerk

has ever known.” Lautenberg said Chertoff’s

response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist at-

for the late Supreme Court Justice William

anti-terrorism experience will serve the

tacks, before the president named him to a

Brennan from 1979 to 1980. After spending

country well.

federal appeals court position in New Jersey.

a few years with a private law firm, Chertoff

Scott Christie, a former U.S. assistant attor-

Corzine praised Chertoff’s work in 2000

attorney in Manhattan, where he prosecuted

ney who worked for Chertoff, said his former

as special counsel to New Jersey’s Senate

mob and political corruption cases.

boss “works and develops consensus in what

Judiciary Committee investigating allega-

he does, and politics takes a backseat to do-

tions that former state Attorney General

ing the right thing for him.

Peter Verniero suppressed evidence of racial

sponsibility in the investigations of al-Qaida,

profiling by the state police.

Michael Chertoff has made clear his com-

was hired by Rudolph Giuliani, then the U.S.

“Having already assumed a great deal of re-

mitment to keeping America safe,” Giuliani

“This speaks to the fact that he’s recognized by both parties as a consummate profes-

Robert Mintz, who worked for Chertoff in

said. “From this base of experience, he’ll be

sional first,” Christie said.

New Jersey and represented Verniero during

a superb Department of Homeland Security

the racial profiling hearings, called his for-

secretary and continue the development of

mer boss “tough, but scrupulously fair.”

this important department.”

Senate Republicans’ chief counsel for the

“While he was the U.S. attorney in New

In 1986, as head of the prosecution in the

Clinton-era Whitewater investigation. Cher-

Jersey, he was one of the hardest-working

“Mafia Commission” case, Chertoff won the

toff also investigated the suicide of Vincent

members of the office, someone who was

conviction of top bosses of La Cosa Nostra

Foster, a Clinton aide and former law partner

widely respected not just here, but across

on charges, including murder, extortion, and

of Hillary Clinton, and other allegations

the country, for being a U.S. attorney who


against the Clintons.

could lead the office effectively and who also

The son of a rabbi, Chertoff, 51, was tapped by New York Sen. Alfonse D’Amato to be the

was the best trial lawyer in the office,” said

After leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office in

Glenn Ivey, a former Democratic attorney

Mintz, who chairs the white collar defense

1994, Chertoff took on several high-profile

on the Senate Whitewater Committee, said

practice at the Newark, NJ, law firm of Mc-

private clients, including the Columbia-HCA

that if Chertoff is “as tough on terrorists as

Carter & English.

health care chain which paid hundreds of millions of dollars for Medicaid fraud.

he was on the Democrats in the Whitewater investigation, the nation is in pretty good

As New Jersey’s U.S. attorney from 1990 to


1994, Chertoff oversaw high-profile prosecu-


In 2003, President Bush nominated him to

continued on back


the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sits in Philadelphia. He has handled a number of routine reviews of immigration decisions and appeals of criminal convictions. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.


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Chertoff praised as good choice to run Homeland Security, work with both parties  

Chertoff praised as good choice to Homeland Security Security.