New Jersey (USA) Nominates its First Sikh Attorney General

Elias Hubbard
December 14, 2017

New York- In a historic first, a distinguished Sikh public prosecutor "who has experienced hate and intolerance first-hand" has been nominated to be the next attorney general of the USA state of New Jersey. "If confirmed, he will be the first Sikh-American Attorney General in American history".

Vanita Gupta was the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and headed the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. He became a prosecutor to give back to a country that has given and his family so much.

"The decision to appoint a visible minority as the chief law enforcement officer for New Jersey reflects the diversity of the state and of the USA, and is especially important in a time where minorities and immigrants have often felt targeted by law enforcement", said SABA President Rishi Bagga. "Gurbir has excelled at every stage and he is ready to help us lead".

With most of his legal career spent in public service, Grewal is the current Bergen County prosecutor. In 2016, Christie renominated him, and appointed him acting county prosecutor early that year, after Molinelli's departure.

Grewal has earlier served as an assistant federal prosecutor in NY and in New Jersey, where he was also the chief of the Economic Crimes Unit. Grewal was also an assistant in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of NY, from 2004 to 2007, including in the Business and Securities Fraud Unit.

Grewal, a Democrat, has earned plaudits for his office's work in combating the opioid crisis in Bergen County and promoting better relations between police and the people they serve.

State Senator Loretta Weinberg said she is looking forward to having the opportunity to interview Grewal for this most important position in Murphy's administration. "It does show Governor-elect Murphy's dedication to the South Asian community", SABA's New Jersey president Bhaveen Jani was quoted as saying in the statement. A few months after Grewal released his findings, Fox resigned from the department.

Turning to his three daughters, Kyrpa, Mayher and Mahek, who were with him, he said: "As someone who has experienced hate and intolerance first-hand throughout my life, I wanted to work to ensure we all live in and that the three of you grow up in a fair and just society".

In 2017, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office declined for the second time to pursue Bridgegate-related charges against Christie, even though a municipal judge found there was probable cause to go forward with a complaint alleging Christie was aware of the September 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge and could be prosecuted. It is against that backdrop that Murphy announced his pick for attorney general, Gurbir Grewal. Current Attorney General Christopher Porrino, reached by phone, said he and Grewal are friends, and vowed to assist with Grewal's transition. "Gurbir's intellect and experience is what attracted me to him and what led me to fight entrenched interests to make him Bergen County prosecutor". His tenure, nearly without exception, has been exemplary. "I am confident he has the skills necessary to be an attorney general we can be proud of in New Jersey".

Grewal graduated from the College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law in 1999.

He is a former assistant USA attorney in the criminal division in the New Jersey district and also served as a prosecutor in the Eastern District of NY. New Jersey will go from a Republican to Democratic administration on January 16 when Murphy takes over from Christie, a friend and at-times adviser to Trump.

With words of praise coming from most legislative leaders, Grewal's nomination seems secure. Murphy said during the announcement, according to the publication. As prosecutor, he has been the chief law enforcement officer of Bergen County - the most populous county in New Jersey and home to almost 1 million residents living in 70 municipalities.

New Jersey's incoming governor, Phil Murphy, whose recent election was supported by a large number of Indian-Americans, and several who worked officially on his campaign, has nominated an Indian-American to be the attorney general of the state, a first on several counts.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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