Gov.-elect Phil Murphy will nominate Bergen County prosecutor Gurbir Grewal as the state’s next attorney general, NJ Advance Media has learned. Grewal would be the nation’s first Sikh attorney general.
Grewal, an Indian-American Sikh, is Murphy’s first high-level nomination — and a historic one — as the Democrat works to fill out an administration set to take office on Jan. 16. If Grewal is confirmed by the state Senate, which seems all but certain, Murphy said he would become the first South Asian attorney general in New Jersey and the first Sikh to hold the position in any state.
“The American dream is alive and well in New Jersey,” Grewal said at a news conference in Trenton where Murphy made the announcement. Attorney general is one of the most powerful positions in New Jersey government, serving as the state’s top cop and top lawyer. The person in that role leads the 7,200-employee Department of Law and Public Safety, which includes the State Police, civil rights enforcement, consumer affairs and civil litigation.
Grewal, 44, is a Glen Rock resident and former federal prosecutor who has led the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office since Republican Gov. Chris Christie tapped him for the role in January 2016. He served in an acting capacity until the state Senate confirmed him to a five-year term and he was sworn into office in January of this year. Grewal was nominated to serve as Bergen County prosecutor by Gov. Chris Christie in 2016. At the time, Christie praised Grewal’s experience as a federal prosecutor and his diverse background.
Prior to being Bergen County’s top law enforcement officer, he worked as the former chief of the Economic Crimes Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office under former federal prosecutor Paul Fishman. He’s a past president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York and a member of the New Jersey Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association.
Murphy has stressed on multiple occasions since his November election, and repeated Tuesday, that he wants his attorney general to band together with attorneys general from other states to sue to block policies coming out of a Republican-controlled Washington, D.C. The nomination would be sent to the state Senate for approval after Murphy takes office.