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What you need to know about Christopher A. Wray

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 6/7/2017 JASON SILVERSTEIN
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Christopher A. Wray, President Trump’s nominee for the next FBI director, spent years battling elite corruption — before he started defending it.

In his previous career with the federal government, which ended more than a decade ago, Wray made a name for himself by taking on some of the defining criminal investigations of the early 2000s.

But since leaving government for private practice, the attorney has been working for the other side — defending Fortune 100 companies and helping New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie get cleared for the Bridgegate scandal.

Wray also already has close ties to Trump and the GOP. Campaign finance records show he has donated about $35,000 to Republican candidates since 2008, including Tom Price, Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary, and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), the cousin of Sonny Perdue, Trump's Agriculture Secretary. 

At his current law firm, Wray works with Bobby Burchfield, Trump’s “independent ethics adviser” for private business.

This could all create problems for Wray as he seeks confirmation while the fallout continues from Trump firing James Comey, the previous FBI Director.

Trump’s announcement about Wray came out of the blue one day before Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his conversations with Trump regarding the federal criminal probe into his campaign.

Unlike Comey, who spent decades rising through the ranks of government, Wray would take over the FBI with a truncated track record of public service.

The Yale Law School graduate worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta from 1997 until 2001, when he joined the Department of Justice.

In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated him to lead the Justice Department’s criminal division as assistant attorney general.

Wray only stayed on that job for two years, but during that time he handled some of the most important cases of that decade.

He oversaw the task force that investigated Enron after the energy company’s notorious and corrupt collapse. The investigation led to convictions for several Enron executives and auditors who helped orchestrate the corporation's years of financial deception.

Christopher A. Wray. - Mark Wilson © Provided by New York Daily News Christopher A. Wray. - Mark Wilson

Wray also assisted in Justice Department investigations related to the 9/11 attacks and the War on Terror. He finished his tenure with the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the department’s highest public service award.

Since 2005, Wray has served as a private practice attorney for the King & Spalding law firm, where he works out of New York, Washington and Atlanta.

At the firm, Wray jumped to the other side of corruption cases, helping major corporations — as well as Christie, one of Trump’s biggest supporters — fend off allegations of corruption.

According to his profile on the firm’s website, Wray has defended many Fortune 100 companies in white collar crime cases, some of which were spearheaded by the Justice Department.

Wray represented Christie during the investigation into Bridgegate, the coordinated closure in 2013 of the George Washington Bridge. While three of Christie’s top aides would be convicted for their roles in the political vengeance, Christie was cleared of all wrongdoing. Earlier this month, Christie championed Wray as a potential pick for FBI director.

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