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Michael B. Mukasey recently served as Attorney General of the United States, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. As Attorney General from November 2007 to January 2009, he oversaw the U.S. Department of Justice and advised on critical issues of domestic and international law. Judge Mukasey joined Debevoise as a partner in the litigation practice in New York in February 2009, focusing his practice primarily on internal investigations, independent board reviews and corporate governance.
From 1988 to 2006, Judge Mukasey served as a district judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, becoming Chief Judge in 2000. Among the significant cases he presided over are:
- The terrorism trial of Omar Abdel Rahman (the “Blind Sheik”) and nine other defendants;
- SR Int’l Bus. Ins. Co. v. World Trade Ctr. Props, LLC, addressing whether the two-plane attack on the World Trade Center constituted one or two “occurrences” for insurance purposes;
- Antidote Int’l Films v. Motion Picture Assoc. of Am., addressing antitrust issues arising from the MPAA’s ban on the distribution of new movies to critics and awards groups;
- Padilla v. Rumsfeld, addressing the detention of a citizen suspected of engaging in terrorism against the United States;
- United States v. Lindauer, rejecting the government’s request to compel a defendant to take psychotropic drugs to render her competent to stand trial; and
- United States v. Cheng Chui Ping, where the defendant was charged with immigrant smuggling, money laundering and trafficking in kidnapping proceeds.
From 1972 to 1976, Judge Mukasey served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and as Chief of the Official Corruption Unit from 1975 to 1976. His practice consisted of criminal litigation on behalf of the government, including investigation and prosecution of narcotics, bank robbery, interstate theft, securities fraud, fraud on the government and bribery. From 1976 to 1987 and from 2006 to 2007 he was in private practice.
Prominent among his cases, from public and private practice, are:
- Udell v. New York News Inc., involving a libel claim by an attorney against New York News Inc.;
- United States v. Stirling, a stock fraud prosecution; and
- United States v. Carlin Communications, Inc., a criminal prosecution involving alleged interstate transportation of obscene materials.
Judge Mukasey has received numerous honors, including the Federal Bar Council’s Learned Hand Medal for Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence. He served as chairman of the Committee on Public Access to Information and Proceedings of the New York Bar Association from 1984 to 1987. He served on the Federal Courts Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 1979 to 1982 and its Communications Law Committee from 1983 to 1986. Judge Mukasey was also a part-time lecturer at Columbia School of Law from January 1993 to May 2007, teaching trial advocacy.
He received his LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1967 and his B.A. from Columbia College in 1963.
Yale Law School, 1967, LL.B.
Columbia University, 1963, B.A.