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White House Attorney General Nominee Could Be First Black Woman to Hold Post

In the late 1990s, Loretta Lynch helped convict the NYPD cop who assaulted Haitian immigrant Abner Louima with a broom handle, in one of the highest-profile police brutality cases of the time.

Loretta E. Lynch addresses the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) at the United Nations August 13-14, 2014. (Photo: United Nations Mission Geneva/flickr/cc)

President Obama was expected on Saturday to nominate U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to be the next Attorney General. If confirmed, the 55-year-old federal prosecutor would be the first African American woman to hold the position.

"Ms. Lynch is a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice led one of the most important U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the country," read a White House press statement sent out Friday.

Lynch, who currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two children, was first appointed U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in 1999 by Bill Clinton and was apppointed again by Obama in 2010. Both times her nomination had to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

According to senior government officials, "Lynch was the least controversial of the final choices before the president," the Washington Post reports. "She has been confirmed twice by the Senate. And she was respected for the way she conducted several high-profile cases without seeking ­publicity."

The New York Times notes that "she has no personal ties to Mr. Obama or his policies, freeing her of the baggage that weighed down other candidates."

The paper continues: "If she is confirmed, her appointment will also allow the president, questioned in recent days about what he may do differently after his party’s thrashing, to bring a fresh face into an administration many have criticized as too insular."

Lynch, who grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, has litigated cases related to political corruption, terrorism and organized crime.

Time magazine reports: "Before she was an appointed to the top job, she worked within the U.S. Attorney’s office to helped convict the NYPD cop who assaulted Haitian immigrant Abner Louima with a broom handle, in one of the highest-profile police brutality cases of the 1990s. Louima is black and the arrested officers were white, but Lynch said she didn’t want the case to become 'a referendum on race'."

The progressive coalition Alliance for Justice (AFJ) cheered Lynch's likely nomination. "In addition to handling major cases involving everything from police brutality to cybercrime, Lynch is a key policy adviser to Eric Holder," AFJ  president Nan Aron said in a statement. "We are confident that Lynch will build on Holder’s strong legacy of standing up for civil rights and ensuring equal justice for all Americans.  We call on Ms. Lynch to take a leading role in addressing the Supreme Court’s repeated efforts to deny access to the courts and the ballot box."

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