Home>Essex>Platkin names senior leadership team at attorney general’s office

Gov. Phil Murphy and Attorney General-designate Matt Platkin on February 3, 2022. (Photo: Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor’s Office).

Platkin names senior leadership team at attorney general’s office

Acting AG elevates Ruotolo, hires Emehelu, Long, Iyer and Nogueira; says Christopher Edwards will become a Superior Court Judge

By David Wildstein, May 02 2022 11:22 am

Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin is reshaping the Department of Law and Public Safety, announcing new appointments and some departures from the senior leadership team of his predecessor, Gurbir Grewal, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Lyndsay Ruotolo will become the new First Assistant Attorney General, succeeding Jennifer Davenport.  Davenport is leaving the department for a new job.

Pearl Minato will replace Ruotolo as director of the Division of Criminal Justice.

Christopher Edwards is expected to be nominated as a Superior Court Judge – the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee approved him in April – and Shirley Emehelu, a partner at Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi who spent nine years as a federal prosecutor, will replace him as Executive Assistant Attorney General.

The director of the Division of Law, Michelle Miller, will be replaced by Michael Long, a partner at Platkin’s old firm, Lowenstein Sandler and a former law clerk to New Jersey Supreme Court Justice James Zazzali.  Miller is expected to assume a senior post within the Division of law.

Three attorneys will give up their current jobs to join Platkin in the attorney general’s office: Derick Dailey, a former federal prosecutor, will serve as Platkin’s senior counsel; Sundeep Iyer, who helped prosecute four police officers charged in the death of George Floyd as a special attorney for the State of Minnesota, will serve as Assistant Attorney General and senior counsel to Platkin.  A Yale law school graduate, Iyer clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer, and for Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

An attorney for the World Bank, Daniela Nogueira, will also serve as a senior counsel to Platkin.

Platkin will retain other members of the previous administration: chief of staff Jonathan Garelick, chief counsel Matthew Berns, senior counsel Melanie Armstrong, legislative affairs director Stephan Finkel, senior counsel and community engagement director Bryn Whittle, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer Lora Fong.

Gov. Phil Murphy had already announced his nomination of Cari Fais as the state’s consumer affairs director.  Fais reports to Platkin.

Platkin will also keep rising star Jeremy Feigenbaum as the Solicitor General of New Jersey.  That’s not really a surprise since Platkin played a key role in recruiting Feigenbaum into the Murphy administration while he was serving as chief counsel to the governor in 2018.

Angela Cai and Alec Schierenbeck are staying on as deputy solicitors general.

“We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of public servants within the Attorney General’s Office, and they are truly the engine that allows us to accomplish our important work,” Platkin said.  “I am thrilled to welcome new members to the senior leadership team, who bring with them a wealth of experience as career prosecutors, devoted public servants, and talented attorneys.”

Ruotolo is the daughter of the late Andrew Ruotolo, who also served as a federal prosecutor before Gov. Jim Florio named him Union County Prosecutor in 1991.  He died four years later at age 42 of esophageal cancer.  Her mother, Mary, served two terms as a Union County Freeholder.   She worked in the prosecutor’s office for four years before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office in 2018.  Prior to that, she as a litigation associate at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter in Morristown.

Prior to joining the Chiesa law firm, Emehelu was the chief of asset recovery and anti-money laundering at the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey.   She clerked for a federal judge in Virginia following her graduation from Yale Law School.

Minato is current Platkin’s senior counsel.  She started as an assistant Camden County Prosecutor before joining the attorney general’s office and served as chief of staff for the state Office of Public Integrity and Accountibility.

Dailey was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Delaware and will depart his position at Davis and Gilbert to join Platkin’s senior staff.

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