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Mayorkas to Join L.A. Law Firm

July 26, 2001|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former U.S. Atty. Alejandro N. Mayorkas will become a partner in the Los Angeles law firm of O'Melveny & Myers, the firm announced Wednesday.

Mayorkas, a 41-year-old Democrat, served as the highest-ranking federal prosecutor in Los Angeles from 1999 until he resigned in April after the Republican administration took office.

U.S. attorneys are political appointees, chosen by the president with the Senate's consent.

Mayorkas, who is to begin his new job Sept. 4, said he is eager to return to litigation but intends to remain active in civic and charitable affairs.

Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, senior partner at O'Melveny & Myers, said Mayorkas "brings a deep knowledge of public issues and strong personal qualities to the practice of law. We are fortunate to have him as a partner."

O'Melveny's chairman, A.B. Culvahouse, said Mayorkas' experience will make him a valuable mentor and will strengthen the firm's capabilities.

A career prosecutor, Mayorkas oversaw the largest federal prosecutor's office in the nation, staffed by about 240 lawyers responsible for trying criminal and civil cases in a seven-county region from Orange County to San Luis Obispo County.

During his tenure, the office prosecuted a range of high-profile cases. They included those of Buford O. Furrow Jr., convicted of murdering a Filipino American postal worker and wounding five people at a Jewish center in the San Fernando Valley; Operation Casablanca, in which two major Mexican banks and 40 people were convicted of international drug money laundering; and the prosecution of members of the Mexican Mafia and the 18th Street gang under federal racketeering statutes.

Mayorkas' record was tarnished, however, when it was disclosed earlier this year that he had called the White House counsel's office on behalf of the family of Carlos Vignali, a convicted drug dealer whose 15-year sentence was subsequently commuted by President Clinton. Mayorkas later apologized to his staff for his action.

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