MANHATTAN — President Barack Obama will name Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch as his nominee for attorney general, the White House announced Friday.
Obama will make the announcement Saturday in the White House's Roosevelt Room. Lynch would be the first African American woman and second woman to serve in the role.
"Ms Lynch is a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice led one of the most important U.S.Attorney's Offices in the country," read a statement from White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
CNN first reported news of Obama's pick, but the White House declined to officially confirm the nomination for several hours, even denying that a personnel announcement would be made Friday.
If her nomination is confirmed, Lynch, 55, would replace Eric Holder, who announced plans to resign in September.
The White House said Holder's "tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement." Holder will be present at the White House for Obama's announcement.
Lynch's spokeswoman declined to comment Friday. Sources say that Lynch has been at the top of Obama's list to replace Holder for a while. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was also considered a possible choice for the job.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate, applauded the president's pick Friday, saying she would make an "outstanding attorney general."
Schumer has twice recommended Lynch for U.S. Attorney.
“Loretta Lynch is a consummate professional, has a first-rate legal mind and is committed in her bones to the equal application of justice for all people," said Schumer.
"I was proud to recommend her to be the U.S. Attorney for my home community of the Eastern District of New York, and I will be prouder still to champion what must be her swift confirmation in the Senate," he added.
Rep. Charles Rangel, dean of New York's congressional delegation, also gave Lynch a stamp of approval.
"You bet your life being from New York I've respected the reputation of Loretta Lynch," Rangel said in an interview. "I think she would be an outstanding United States Attorney General."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Lynch a "trailblazer."
"She has earned a well-deserved reputation as an aggressive but fair prosecutor, who has used her office to seek justice through both criminal and civil proceedings," Cuomo said.
"I am confident that U.S. Attorney Lynch will bring those same qualities to her new position as our country’s top law enforcement official," he added.
Lynch has served two terms as the U.S. Attorney for Brooklyn. She was appointed to the role by President Bill Clinton from 1999 to 2001, and returned in 2010 when Obama selected her for the position.
Lynch oversaw the team that won a conviction against a New York City police officer for sodomizing Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. More recently, she brought tax evasion charges against Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island.
Lynch's experience with the Louima case as well as with terrorism prosecutions and political corruption cases is seen as a plus.
The fact that Lynch is not currently part of Obama's inner circle is also seen as a plus, especially after the Republican takeover of Congress following Tuesday's midterm elections.
Lynch is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.