Trump to name New York lawyer to lead Justice Dept. civil unit: source

By David Shepardson


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is expected to nominate New York lawyer George T. Conway III to lead the U.S. Justice Department's civil division, a source briefed on the matter said on Friday.


Conway, the husband of Trump's senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He has represented Philip Morris International Inc, Cardinal Health Inc and the National Football League among many corporate clients.


He did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. The White House and Justice Department also declined comment.


As head of the civil division, Conway would be in charge of defending government actions, including Trump's revised executive order banning citizens from six Muslim-majority nations from traveling to the United States.

This week, judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked implementation of Trump's order that retains a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen that was part of an earlier order blocked by the courts.

Conway was one of a team of lawyers who drafted a legal brief on behalf of Paula Jones who sued President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment, according to numerous media reports.

Conway wrote in a 1994 Los Angeles Times op-ed that Clinton should not have immunity from Jones' lawsuit "because it would place presidents above the law. It would enable a president to take out a mortgage on a summer home, refuse to make payments and yet be immune from foreclosure for four or eight years."

The civil division defends U.S. agencies against thousands of lawsuits filed annually over government policies, laws, domestic and foreign operations, entitlement programs, law enforcement and military actions, and counter-terrorism efforts.

The division also sues on behalf of the government to recoup money lost through fraud, loan defaults and the abuse of federal funds, especially involving Medicare.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown)