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The High-Profile Cases of Mary Jo White, Obama's SEC Pick The High-Profile Cases of Mary Jo White, Obama's SEC Pick

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White House

The High-Profile Cases of Mary Jo White, Obama's SEC Pick

Mary Jo White in 1998. She was then serving as the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)()

photo of Catherine Hollander
January 18, 2013

Mary Jo White, the former U.S. attorney from New York, is President Obama's pick to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission. The president will unveil the pick--along with the decision to renominate Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau--at 2:30 p.m. at the White House, according to two administration officials. A White House official emphasized the importance of the SEC's role in "rooting out reckless behavior" on Wall Street and said that White's background as a prosecutor would suit her well in the job.

You've probably heard of some of the cases White has prosecuted as well as the names of some of the clients she has represented.

  1. John Gotti (1992). White's office oversaw the case against mobster John Gotti in the early 1990s.
  2. World Trade Center bombing (1993). White oversaw the prosecution of the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing while serving as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
  3. Omar Abdel Rahman (1993). Also known as “the blind sheikh,” Rahman conspired to bomb the United Nations and other New York City sites, and White’s office prosecuted him.
  4. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef (1995). Yousef masterminded the 1993 WTC bombing and also tried to blow up U.S. airliners en route from Asia. White’s office prosecuted him.
  5. Osama bin Laden (1998). White’s office indicted bin Laden for attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa and for conspiring to kill Americans abroad.
  6. Tommy Hilfiger (2004). The clothing giant was being investigated for federal criminal tax violations, and it brought White on to lead its legal team
  7. Donald Trump (2009). At law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, White represented New York Times business editor and author Timothy O’Brien in a defamation suit brought by real-estate mogul Donald Trump.
  8. Ken Lewis (2010). White defended Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis when New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed civil securities fraud charges against him.
  9. News Corp. hacking scandal (2011). White was brought in to advise News Corp.’s independent directors in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal that rocked the U.K.

White would replace Elisse Walter, who became SEC chairwoman after Mary Schapiro stepped down last month. Walter can stay in the job without additional Senate confirmation (she was confirmed to be an SEC commissioner already) through the end of 2013, according to Bloomberg.

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