New acting attorney general announces leadership team

TRENTON, NJ — Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck has announced the membership of his executive leadership team, retaining or elevating a number of career public servants who worked under former Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. Grewal resigned on July 17 in order to become director of the Enforcement Division at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Jennifer Davenport, who currently serves as the attorney general’s principal law enforcement adviser, will also assume the title of first assistant attorney general, a position she previously held from 2018 to 2020. Christopher Edwards and Jonathan Garelick will continue in their current roles as executive assistant attorney general and chief of staff, respectively.

Matthew Berns, who previously served as senior counsel to the attorney general, will be elevated to chief counsel to the acting attorney general. Bryn Whittle, who currently serves as the director of community engagement, will also assume the titles of assistant attorney general and senior counsel to the acting attorney general.

All other members of Grewal’s executive leadership team will remain in their current roles. In addition, four career employees of the Department of Law & Public Safety will join Bruck’s leadership team; they are: Pearl Minato as senior counsel; Adedayo Adu and Elspeth Hans as counsel; and John Zutic as special adviser on gun violence and prevention.

“I’ve spent the past three and a half years working with some of the most talented, dedicated and ethical people I’ve ever encountered, and I’m delighted that I’ll continue working alongside them as I move into this new role,” Bruck said. “I’m proud of the diverse team we’ve assembled and remain immensely grateful to Gov. Murphy for the opportunity to serve the state in this way. I can’t wait to get to work.”

Bruck also identified his top three priorities for his tenure: reducing gun violence, promoting good policing policy and advancing racial justice. In one of his first acts in his new role, Bruck directed the leadership of all 17 LPS divisions, offices and commissions to identify concrete, tangible steps they could take in the next six months to address racial disparities that were exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 30, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that Bruck would serve as acting attorney general for the remainder of Grewal’s term, which expires in January 2022. Bruck became acting attorney general at midnight on Saturday, July 17, when Grewal’s resignation became effective.

Bruck previously served as first assistant attorney general and executive assistant attorney general, and has been part of the executive leadership team at the attorney general’s office since arriving with Grewal in January 2018.