A little more than two years after being nominated by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to become the next prosecutor of Bergen County, Indian American Gurbir Singh Grewal is scheduled to be appointed the acting prosecutor Jan. 4.
Grewal, who was nominated by Christie in September 2013, will take over for the departing John Molinelli who concluded his 14-year tenure Dec. 31, according to a NorthJersey.com report.
A resident of Glen Rock, N.J., Grewal will become the first Sikh American to serve as a county prosecutor, leaders of the Sikh community told NorthJersey.com.
The 42-year-old Grewal joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2010 and serves as the chief of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark. He had previously represented the government in a case in which the president of a New Jersey-based textile company was sentenced to a three-year prison term for defrauding investors of millions.
“He’s an extraordinary talent,” state Sen. Kevin O’Toole, whose district includes Bergen County, told NorthJersey.com. “He’s very thorough and very fair. He doesn’t have a political bone in his body.”
Prior to taking the office in Bergen County, acting Attorney General John Hoffman swore Grewal in as an assistant attorney general, senators told NorthJersey.com.
The New Jersey senators were somewhat concerned that Hoffman is an acting attorney general and now Grewal will be an acting prosecutor.
“We went through two years of no nomination and now at the very end of this session we get an acting prosecutor,” state Sen. Loretta Weinberg told NorthJersey.com. “We did not have the benefit of a gubernatorial nomination and a full hearing on a county prosecutor nor have we ever had the benefit of a full hearing for the attorney general who is appointing the acting prosecutor.”
No explanation was given as to why Molinelli was not reappointed for the position.
Going forward, Christie will have to re-nominate Grewal in the new legislative session, then Grewal must be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
At the time of his nomination, Christie in a statement said Grewal “has the right credentials and background to be the chief law enforcement officer for Bergen County. He also brings diversity to a highly diverse county.”
Grewal, who speaks Punjabi and Hindi, comes from one of the fastest growing segments of New Jersey’s population. The number of Indian Americans in the state increased 73 percent during the 2000s. In Bergen, that number grew by 40 percent to 24,973 by 2010 or 2.8 percent of Bergen County’s overall population.
Grewal is a graduate of Georgetown University and received a law degree from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at The College of William & Mary. The Indian American is past president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York and is a member of the New Jersey Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association.