04 Mar, 2024
2 mins read

Former US Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti dies at 87

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former US Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti, who investigated President Jimmy Carter’s brother while in the administration and who later became one of the nation’s most expensive private attorneys, has died. He was 87.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Civiletti died Sunday evening of Parkinson’s at his home in Lutherville, Maryland.

In a statement Monday night, Attorney General Merrick Garland, who worked at the Justice Department with Civiletti in 1979, hailed his former boss’s “skill, integrity and dedication.”

“I would describe myself as a hardworking lawyer with good judgment who gets things done,” Civiletti told the Baltimore Sun not long after he became, in 2005, the nation’s first lawyer to charge $1,000 an hour.

Civiletti interrupted a distinguished career as a Baltimore attorney in March 1977 to join the Justice Department as the assistant attorney general overseeing its criminal division. He was named deputy attorney general in May 1978, and Carter chose him as Attorney General Griffin B. Bell’s replacement in July 1979.

Civiletti often dealt with politically delicate cases, including investigations of presidential brother Billy Carter’s dealings with Libya, Carter friend Bert Lance, influence buying by South Korean agents and allegations of cocaine use by two Carter aids.

Billy Carter accepted $220,000 from Libya but failed to register as a Libyan agent, sparking investigations by the Justice Department and the Senate. Under an agreement following a lawsuit by the department, Carter registered as a Libyan agent.

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigated whether Civiletti violated any laws or regulations by briefly mentioning the matter to the president; it later found Civiletti had not, though a Senate subcommittee concluded he had not acted in a professional manner.

In investigating accusations leveled at White House aids Hamilton Jordan and Tim Kraft, Civiletti became the first attorney

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