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Indian American Lawyer Surya Saxena Among 3 Shortlisted to be Minnesota’s Next U.S. Attorney

Indian American Lawyer Surya Saxena Among 3 Shortlisted to be Minnesota’s Next U.S. Attorney

  • If confirmed, the former assistant federal prosecutor will oversee an office of about 130 people and set priorities for prosecuting crimes in the federal court system.

An Indian American lawyer is among three finalists shortlisted to be Minnesota’s next U.S. attorney. Former assistant federal prosecutor Surya Saxena joins former U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger and former assistant U.S. attorney for Minnesota Lola Velazquez-Aguilu. 

The search committee is being led by Minnesota U.S. Sens. Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar, with help from law enforcement officials and prosecutors from around the state. The chosen candidate, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will succeed Erica MacDonald. 

The U.S. attorney in Minnesota oversees an office of about 130 people and sets priorities for prosecuting crimes in the federal court system.

Sahan Journal reports that “Saxena’s status among the final candidates emerges amid pushback to the finalist list among legislators in Saint Paul.” A previous report in Minnesota Reformer indicates that legislators, led by first-year Sate Sen. Omar Fateh have introduced a letter to Klobuchar and Smith objecting to Luger’s candidacy for a second term as U.S. attorney. 

Saxena is currently the senior associate general counsel at UnitedHealthcare, according to his LinkedIn page. 

Prior to serving on UnitedHealthcare’s counsel team, Saxena served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in Minnesota. In that role, he led attorneys and federal law enforcement agents in a wide array of investigations, including fraud and embezzlement, money laundering, cybercrime, narcotics trafficking, and opioid overdoses.

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United States District Judge Ann Montgomery told Sahan Journal that Saxena has handled a variety of cases in her courtroom. “I’ve been impressed with his professional manner,” Montgomery said. “He has a reputation in the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a thinker and a valued team player.”

Saxena was a co-recipient of the Minnesota Lawyer’s attorney of the year award. Saxena jointly received the award with Velazquez-Aguilu, who is also a candidate for the U.S. attorney position, “for their successful fraud prosecutions against executives at Starkey Laboratories,” Sahan Journal reported. He also co-chaired a committee of the U.S. attorney’s office tasked with improving recruiting and hiring practices. He has previously worked as an associate at Minneapolis law firm Dorsey & Whitney. He attended law school at Georgetown University Law Center, and received a B.A in political science at the University of Minnesota.

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