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Department of Defense top lawyer stepping down

Jeh Johnson vacates his post on Dec. 31

The top lawyer in the Department of Defense (DOD) has decided to step down, effective Dec. 31.

Jeh Johnson was the general counsel for the DOD during President Barack Obama’s first term. He joined the DOD in January 2009, at the appointment of the newly elected president.

Johnson was involved in the legal issues of some of the president’s biggest accomplishments, including the ban on gay and lesbian individuals in the military and the raid that took out Osama bin Laden. After taking the GC role, Johnson took over the Sept. 11, 2001, conspiracy prosecution from the Department of Justice, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants are currently facing trial in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Johnson said his next step is to possibly return to his former firm, Paul Weiss. Experts say he is also a candidate for U.S. Attorney General, but current Attorney General Eric Holder has indicated he may remain in that post for at least another year.

Read more about Jeh Johnson’s departure from the DOD on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

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