Michael B. Mukasey served as the 81st Attorney General of the United States from November 2007 to January 2009. He oversaw all activities of the Justice Department, and advised on critical issues of domestic and international law.
From 1988 to 2006, he served as a district judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, becoming chief judge in 2000. While on the bench, he handled numerous cases, including the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called “blind sheikh,” and nine co-defendants, convicted of a wide-ranging conspiracy that included the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and a later plot to blow up New York landmarks, including the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the United Nations, and the FBI’s New York headquarters in lower Manhattan; and the case of Jose Padilla, arrested on a material witness warrant and believed to have returned to the United States to detonate a high-radiation bomb and to blow up apartment buildings by sealing apartments, filling them with gas, and then detonating them.
Judge Mukasey began his career in private practice after graduating from Yale Law School in 1967, where he was a member of the board of editors of the Yale Law Journal. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in the Criminal Division, from 1972 to 1976, and as chief of that office’s official corruption unit in 1975-1976.
From 1976 until 1987, when President Reagan nominated him to the bench, he practiced at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, where he litigated cases in state, federal and arbitral tribunals.
Since February 2009, Judge Mukasey has been a partner in the New York firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, where he is a member of the litigation department and focuses his practice primarily on internal investigations, independent board reviews and corporate governance. The honors he has received include the Federal Bar Council’s Learned Hand Medal for Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence and an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Brooklyn Law School.
He and his wife, Susan, have two children, Marc and Jessica, and two grandsons, William and Benjamin Barkoff.