Former Pa. AG picks successor

Jessica M. Karmasek Feb. 8, 2011, 1:31pm


HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett on Tuesday nominated Linda L. Kelly to replace him as the state's new permanent attorney general.

Kelly, 61, has been a prosecutor for more than 30 years, serving as both an assistant district attorney in Allegheny County and most recently as senior litigation counsel as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

"I know from my personal experience that throughout her career she has consistently demonstrated good judgment, common sense and has the experience to successfully lead the Attorney General's oOffice," Corbett said in a statement.

Kelly, who has already promised not to run when the post comes up for election in 2012, said in a statement she was "excited" for the opportunity.

"I am honored and humbled by Governor Corbett's confidence in me and I look forward to working with the men and women of the Attorney General's Office," she said.

Kelly's nomination now requires confirmation by the state Senate.

If confirmed, she would become Pennsylvania's first female attorney general since the office became an elected position in 1980. The last woman to hold the post was Anne X. Alpern from 1959 to 1961.

Kelly began her career in the mid-1970s as an assistant district attorney in Allegheny County, joining the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1980. She was twice named acting U.S. Attorney, first for 15 months through October 1998 and then for five months in 2001.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. Attorney's Office created a national security section within its criminal division. Kelly has served as anti-terrorism coordinator for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh and as liaison to other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the district.

She has prosecuted a variety of crimes, including racketeering, narcotics cases and illegal gambling operations, and has prosecuted and supervised cases based on investigations by the Internal Revenue Service, Postal Inspector and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Kelly also has worked with the Allegheny County and Pittsburgh's Youth Works job initiative, which recruits employers for at-risk youths.

She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English, and the Duquesne University School of Law.

She and her husband, Paul, are the parents of a daughter, Kate, who is a third-year student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

William Ryan is currently the state's interim attorney general.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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