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SEC nomination signals Obama’s tougher approach to Wall Street

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The woman who prosecuted Mafia boss John Gotti is about to take over the policing of Wall Street.

Barack Obama is expected to nominate former star government prosecutor Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as the regulator attempts to dodge criticism that it has been soft on Wall Street.

White spent nearly a decade as the US attorney for the southern district of New York – the first, and so far only, woman to be named to the post. Among many high-profile cases, she oversaw the prosecution of Gotti, the mafia boss, as well as the individuals responsible for the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.

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She would become the first prosecutor to lead the SEC in its 80-year history.

White is also a former director of the Nasdaq stock exchange. While she made her name prosecuting crime bosses, white collar criminals and terrorists, she is now a partner at attorneys Debevoise and Plimpton, where she leads the white-collar criminal defence practice. She helped defend Bank of America’s former boss Ken Lewis against civil suits that followed the bank’s disastrous expansions during the financial crisis.

The president was expected to announce White’s nomination during a ceremony in the State dining room on Thursday.

At the same event, Obama was to renominate Richard Cordray to serve as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray, too, is another former government prosecutor. As attorney general of Ohio he pursued lawsuits against some of the US’s largest financial institutions, including AIG and Bank of America.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said: “The president believes the appointment and renomination he’s making today demonstrate the commitment he has to carrying out Wall Street reform.”

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Democrat senator Charles Schumer called White a “fearless, tough-as-nails prosecutor with the knowledge of industry to keep up with the markets’ swift innovation.”

Michael Robinson, executive vice-president of Washington strategist Levick and a former head of public affairs and policy chief at the SEC, said the appointment sent a clear signal to corporate America. “Mary Jo White will go after you hammer and tongs,” he said.

“Recently there has been the perception there has been ‘someone to blame’ for what has befallen the economy. It’s not for want of trying that prosecutions have not been brought. Everyone has been investigated.”

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Fines have been levied against major banks but no senior executive from a top tier financial institution has been charged with wrongdoing. Robinson said it was unclear if ongoing investigations would result in such actions. But he said “going forward” the SEC under White was likely to be much more aggressive.

If approved, White will replace Elisse Walter, a longtime SEC official who took over after Mary Schapiro stepped down as the agency’s leader in December.

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013

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Large fires in Philadelphia — as police scramble to save City Hall

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Protests in the City of Brotherly Love resulted in multiple police cares being lit on fire as windows were broken in the town's iconic City Hall.

Anti-police violence protests have erupted across America following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Here are some of the scenes from the Philadelphia protests:

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Trump Tower is ‘under siege’ as Chicago Police make arrests to defend the president’s building

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Protesters marched on Trump Tower in Chicago on Saturday, as Chicago police in riot gear and on horses defend the president's building.

State police were deployed to the scene to back up local police, who are reportedly arresting protesters.

On video showed protesters taking a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

Actor John Cusack was among those documenting the protest.

Here are some of the images from the scene:

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George Floyd’s brother tears up discussing condolence phone call from Trump: ‘It hurt me’

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The brother of George Floyd described the condolence phone call he received from President Donald Trump during a Saturday interview on MSNBC.

Philonise Floyd was interviewed by the Rev. Al Sharpton on "Politics Nation."

While Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third degree murder, the other three officers involved in the killing remain free.

"They all need to be convicted of first degree murder and given the death penalty," Floyd said.

"What was the conversation with President Trump like?" Sharpton asked.

"It was so fast," Floyd replied.

"He didn't give me an opportunity to even speak. It was hard, I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept like pushing me off, like 'I don't want to hear what you're talking about.' And I just told him I want justice. I said that I couldn't believe they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight."

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