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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
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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