By ERIC TUCKER
WASHINGTON (AP) – As the Justice Department opens a civil rights investigation into the chokehold death of an unarmed man in New York City, the prosecutor in charge of the probe is juggling another high-profile role: designated heir to Eric Holder as the nation’s attorney general.
The dual positions have placed Loretta Lynch in a public spotlight ahead of Senate confirmation hearings, a period of time when cabinet nominees normally seek a lower profile to avoid providing fodder for critics. She’ll inevitably be questioned about the investigation into Eric Garner’s death, an obvious priority for a Justice Department seeking to address concerns about police use of force and racial bias in law enforcement.
“This case is going to gain public notoriety either way. That she’s handling it certainly gives another reason for people to talk about it,” said Joshua Levy, a Washington lawyer and former counsel to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will consider Lynch’s nomination.