Former top prosecutor comes to WSU

3:10:35 PM CDT - Friday, February 14, 2003

By AMy Geiszler-Jones

2_13_03_janetreno.jpg (4,532 bytes)

Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney general, is coming to WSU next month to talk about her life and political career.

Reno, who served as the nation's top prosecutor from 1993 until 2001, will give a free lecture at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, in the Lowe Auditorium in the Hughes Metropolitan Complex. There will be a question-and-answer session following the talk.

Reno, the daughter of journalists, was a state attorney in Dade County from 1978-93, working against riots and escalating drug-related crimes in Miami in the 1980s. She was the first woman to serve as a state attorney in Florida.

When Reno left the Justice Department in 2001 as expected under a new administration, she had been the longest serving U.S. attorney general in the 20th century. While she was praised for her investigation of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, she also faced some controversy with the handling of some incidents, including that of Elian Gonzalez and the storming of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

Jackie Williams, a senior fellow in criminal justice at WSU and former U.S. attorney in Kansas, says Reno is "a straightforward person, with no hidden agendas. She always took responsibility for her actions."

Williams spent 24 years, until 2001, in the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas, with his last six years spent as U.S. attorney.

"She was a terrific boss and always available to assist U.S. attorneys around the country," says Williams, who served two years on Reno's advisory committee, which met monthly to discuss issues and tactics.

Reno most recently was unsuccessful in her run for Florida governor.

"An Evening with Janet Reno" is sponsored by the WSU Student Activities Council issues committee, with funding from the Student Government Association.

Lecture tickets become available Feb. 19

The lecture, "An Evening with Janet Reno," is free, but tickets are required. Tickets for the general public will be available starting Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Rhatigan Student Center activities office, room 219, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Only two tickets will be given per person. Group requests must be made in writing. Call 978-3495 for more information. Doors will open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. March 11 lecture in the Hughes Metropolitan Complex.

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