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Philip B. Heymann

Phil Heymann

Philip Heymann (1978-1981)

Early History: Philip Heymann was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1932.  He graduated with top honors in 1954 from Yale University and was a Fulbirght Scholar at the Sorbonne in Paris.  Mr. Heymann then served two years in the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, reviewing security clearances.  Thereafter, he went to Harvard Law School, where he graduated third in his class in 1960.  Mr. Heymann clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan.

From 1961 to 1965, Mr. Heymann worked at the Solicitor General’s Office under Solicitor General Archibald Cox.  He then spent four years at the U.S. State Department.  Mr. Heymann became a criminal law professor at Harvard Law School in 1969.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Heymann was a top assistant to Watergate Special Prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, concentrating on the investigation of the White House “plumbers” unit.  He assisted in the trial of White House aide John D. Ehrlichman for his part in the break-in of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.

Tenure: In 1978, Mr. Heymann was nominated to serve as the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division.  He replaced Benjamin R. Civiletti, who had been nominated to be Deputy Attorney General.  During his tenure, he oversaw several investigations and prosecutions of note, including Abscam, the Jonestown massacre, and Vesco.

Later Career: In 1981, Mr. Heymann returned to Harvard Law School.  He also served as a senior counsel to Common Cause, a nonpartisan citizen’s lobbying organization promoting open government.  In 1993, President Clinton nominated Mr. Heymann to be Deputy Attorney General.  In 1994, Mr. Heymann returned to Harvard Law School, where he has authored and edited seven books and numerous articles on terrorism, management in government, criminal justice, and combating corruption.

This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Criminal Division, please contact the Division.

Updated July 25, 2016