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From the first days of Mary Jo White’s tenure as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, she was embroiled in investigations and prosecutions of the actions of terrorists. White became U.S. Attorney on June 1, 1993, three months and one day after the first attack on the World Trade Center, and immediately began overseeing the prosecution and subsequent convictions of the four men charged with the bombing. She would later engineer the prosecution and conviction of ringleader Ramzi Yousef. When the plot to blow up New York landmarks, including the U.N. building, was uncovered, White pursued and won convictions of Sheik Omar Rahman and other terrorists. In another landmark terrorist prosecution this spring, she oversaw the trial and conviction of four men accused of conspiring to bomb the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. And long before Sept. 11, White’s office had indicted Osama bin Laden and other members of the al-Qaeda network for conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism against the United States. When she first became U.S. Attorney, White never expected that she would become widely recognized as the most aggressive, most knowledgeable and most successful prosecutor of terrorists. After her appointment, White indicated that her first priorities were violent gangs, narcotics and white-collar crime. Throughout her eight years as U.S. Attorney, White would actively pursue these prosecutions, while handling terrorist cases as well. Her major cases include the conviction of police officers in a far-reaching investigation into corruption in the New York Police Department and the prosecution of a $700 million fraud involving Bennett Funding Inc. Always known for her independent streak, after the fallout earlier this year following the presidential pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, White led an investigation into the actions of the man who appointed her, Bill Clinton. This year, she has also pursued the investigation on campaign finance irregularity charges against New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli. And in 1999, she launched an investigation of the New York Police Department regarding allegations of civil rights violations through racial profiling. White began her legal career as a clerk to U.S. District Judge Marvin Frankel, after graduating from Columbia University Law School. She then spent two years as an associate at New York’s Debevoise & Plimpton, but quickly turned to prosecution, joining the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in 1978. In 1981, White returned to Debevoise, where she specialized in the defense of white-collar criminal and regulatory investigations, prosecutions and procedures. But she returned to prosecution in 1990, becoming the chief assistant to then-U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Andrew Maloney. There she had one of the biggest wins of her career, the prosecution and conviction in April 1992 of Mafia boss John Gotti on murder and racketeering charges. When the attack on the World Trade Center occurred on Sept. 11, White jumped in immediately, launching an investigation to determine the people or organizations responsible. But she was ultimately shut out when Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed Michael Chertoff to head the investigation, which would be directed out of Washington, D.C., not New York. On Nov. 15, White announced she would be leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office by the end of the year. So far, she has left no forwarding address.

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