The mobilization of Indian-Americans in New Jersey which saw the first state senator and several others from the community elected to office Nov. 7, is paying dividends already.
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.
“I am truly honored to nominate Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal to the position of Attorney General,” Murphy announced on Twitter.
If confirmed, Grewal will be the first Indian-American of Sikh ancestry, to be holding the position of Attorney General in American history, and the second Indian-American after former California Attorney General Kamala Harris. He would also be the first South Asian-American to hold that position in the state if confirmed. There is also Indian-American Vani Vedam, who has been an assistant attorney general in the Illinois attorney general’s office since 2012.
“Thank you, Gurbir, for accepting the call to serve NJ,” Murphy added.
Senator-elect Vin Gopal, the first Indian-American to be elected to the New Jersey State Senate, hailed the news as an historic moment for the State of New Jersey. “This is an historic moment for the State of New Jersey. I want to commend the Governor-Elect for nominating someone who is not only eminently qualified, but who will bring a perspective to the office that is diverse and long-overdue,” said Gopal in a statement released to media. “I look forward to working alongside Gurbir Grewal, and I have every confidence that he will serve the people of New Jersey well,” Gopal added.
Grewal was appointed as Acting Bergen County Prosecutor on January 4, 2016, and sworn in as Bergen County Prosecutor on November 14, 2016. As prosecutor, he has been the chief law enforcement officer of Bergen County – the most populous county in New Jersey and home to nearly 1 million residents living in 70 municipalities. He has a staff of approximately 265 personnel at the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office (“BCPO”), consisting of Assistant Prosecutors, Detectives, and support staff. He also exercises supervisory authority over approximately 2,700 sworn law enforcement officers in 72 law enforcement agencies that operate in Bergen County.
Prior to his appointment, Prosecutor Grewal worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey from 2010 to 2016. While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he served as Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit from 2014 to 2016 and oversaw the investigation and prosecution of all major white collar and cyber crimes in the District of New Jersey, according to his biography on the office website. Among other notable cases, he was the lead prosecutor in United States v. Drinkman, et al., the largest known data breach prosecution in which the conspirators participated in a worldwide scheme that targeted major corporate networks and stole more than 160 million credit card numbers, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
Grewal was also the lead prosecutor in United States v. Weinstein, et al., a $200 million Ponzi scheme in which the lead defendant was sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment.
He also supervised the investigation and prosecution of United States v. Turchynov, et al., the largest known computer hacking and securities fraud scheme in which conspirators hacked into three business newswire services, stole yet-to-be published press releases containing non-public financial information, and then traded on that information to generate approximately $30 million in illegal profits.
Before becoming a federal prosecutor in New Jersey, Grewal also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York from 2004 to 2007.
He has also worked in the private sector in Washington, D.C. and New York.
Grewal graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1995. He earned his law degree from the College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law in 1999.