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Controversial Justice nominee withdraws

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The Obama administration’s controversial nominee to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division on Monday withdrew his name from consideration for the post.

Debo Adegbile’s decision comes months after his nomination was rejected in a 47-52 Senate vote in March. Senators voting against the nomination cited his work for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund while it defended Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1981. 

{mosads}”Debo Adegbile has withdrawn himself from consideration for a position at the Department of Justice, and we are actively working toward announcing a new nominee for the post,” a White House official said. 

The NAACP defense fund represented Abu-Jamal during his re-sentencing after being sentenced to death in 1982. Adegbile held various leadership roles in the fund during the time.

Critics said the NAACP defense of Abu-Jamal became more than a legal defense. It turned into a cause against the death penalty, in which advocates claimed racial discrimination, slandered police officers and alleged police abuse. 

Republicans had blasted him as “a convicted cop-killer’s most ardent defender.”

The controversy was enough to convince seven Democrats to join with Republicans in March to block his nomination. 

Adegbile joined the WilmerHale law firm, the company announced Monday. He previously served as a senior council for the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), one of his strongest defenders during the nomination fight, wished him continued success in private practice. 

“Debo Adegbile is an exceptional attorney who will bring a wealth of experience and good judgment to private practice,” Leahy said in a statement. “I appreciate the wise counsel he provided to me and my staff on a wide variety of complex legal issues.” 

Tags Civil Rights Division Debo Adegbile nomination
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