Mukasey, Michael Bernard (myōkāˈzē) [key], 1941–, American jurist, b. Bronx, N.Y., grad. Columbia (A.B., 1963), Yale Law School (LL.B., 1967). After being in private practice (1967–72), he was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1972 and served (1975–76) as chief of its official corruption unit. Subsequent to his return (1976–88) to private practice, Mukasey served (1988–2006) as a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York, becoming chief judge in 2000. He presided over the high-profile 1995 trial of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and his co-defendants, convicted of plotting to destroy the United Nations and other New York City landmarks. During Mukasey's tenure on the bench, he achieved a reputation as a conservative and fair jurist. From 2007 to 2009 he served as U.S. attorney general, succeeding Alberto Gonzales.