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What to know about Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Loretta Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.John Minchillo/Associated press/File

Loretta Lynch, a federal prosecutor out of Brooklyn, is being called a top candidate to replace Eric Holder as US attorney general. If confirmed, she would become the first African-American woman to lead the Justice Department. Obama’s apparent choice comes just three days after his party suffered a major defeat in the midterm elections, ceding ground in the House and more crucially, losing control of the Senate, which must approve the president’s choices for Cabinet posts. Here are six things to know about Lynch:

• Lynch is a 1981 graduate of Harvard College and a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School. According to the Wall Street Journal, she is the daughter of a school librarian and Baptist minister, and was raised in Durham, N.C.


• Lynch is the US attorney for Eastern New York, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island, a position she also held under President Bill Clinton.

• During her first tenure as US attorney in the Eastern District, Lynch helped prosecute police officers who severely beat and sexually assaulted Haitian immigrant Abner Louima with a broken broom handle.

• Lynch has overseen bank fraud and other public corruption cases, including filing tax evasion charges against Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican accused of hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages while running a restaurant.

• She charged reputed mobster Vincent Asaro and his associates for the 36-year-old heist of $6 million in cash and jewelry from a Lufthansa Airlines vault at Kennedy Airport, dramatized in the blockbuster movie ‘‘Goodfellas.’’

• Attorney General Eric Holder is close to Lynch and appointed her as chair of the committee that advises him on policy. She has no personal ties to Obama or his policies, freeing her of the political baggage that has weighed down other candidates once thought to have an edge in the process.