Gurbir Grewal has been named acting prosecutor of Bergen County, replacing John L. Molinelli who competed a second term.
But the big question in Bergen County legal and political circles is if Grewal can win the Senate’s approval this time.
Grewal is the first New Jersey county prosecutor of Indian origin.
Grewal – Rejected Once
This is the second time New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has named Grewal for the position of Bergen County’s top prosecutor.
In September 2013, Christie named Grewal to the same position but the appointment never cleared the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee which has to approve it.
In a big snub to Grewal and Christie, the state Senate never even scheduled a hearing to debate the appointment.
With low approval ratings in the state and pitiful polling numbers in the Republican presidential primaries, Christie’s political standing in 2016 is considerably weaker than it was in 2013.
So Democrats in the New Jersey Senate are unlikely to look favorably upon any of Christie’s appointments.
Even if Governor Christie fails to send the new Bergen County prosecutor’s nomination papers for a full five year term to the Senate for approval, Grewal can still serve as the county’s top prosecutor in an acting capacity for several years.
Bergen County has gone to the dogs over the last two decades and the county faces multiple law enforcement crises including a serious heroin epidemic and gang violence.
Parts of Bergen county look like a Third World country after a tsunami swept through it.
Grewal was sworn in Acting Prosecutor Monday, January 4, 2016 by Bergen County Assignment Judge Bonnie Mizdol.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to join the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office today as the acting county prosecutor,” Grewal said at the swearing-in ceremony. “This office has a tremendous reputation and that’s because of the hard work that each of you do each and every day, day in and day out. This office in many real ways sets the standard for other prosecutor’s offices throughout the state.”
Grewal was previously a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and most recently served as chief of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Before that, Grewal worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the Business and Securities Fraud Unit
An Indian-American, Grewal earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and holds a J.D. degree from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law from the College of William & Mary.
A past president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York, Grewal is proficient in Punjabi and Hindi.
Grewal is married to Amrit and has three children.