Jeffrey Ross Toobin, born May 21, 1960 is an American lawyer, blogger, author, pundit, and legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker. During the Iran Contra affair, he served as an associate counsel in the Department of Justice, and moved from law into writing during the 1990s.
He has written several books, including one on the O.J. Simpson murder case. It was adapted as a series, The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and aired in 2016 as the first season of FX American Crime Story. It won numerous Emmy awards.
Toobin began freelancing for The New Republic while a law student. After passing the bar, he worked as a law clerk to a federal judge and then as an associate counsel to Independent Counsel Lawrence Edward Walsh during the Iran–Contra affair and Oliver North’s criminal trial. He next served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn. According to journalist Michael Isikoff in 2013, Toobin was caught while working for Walsh for “having absconded with large loads of classified and grand-jury related documents” from Walsh’s office. Toobin disputed the assertion that he improperly removed documents.
Toobin wrote a book about his work in the Office of Independent Counsel. Walsh objected to this, and Toobin went to court to affirm his right to publish. Judge John Keenan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote an opinion that Toobin and his publisher had the right to release this book. Walsh’s appeal of the case was dismissed by the court.
Walsh later wrote that he “could understand a young lawyer wanting to keep copies of his own work, but not copying material from the general files or the personal files of others.” After three years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Toobin “resigned from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn (where he had gone to work after Walsh) and abandoned the practice of law.” He started working in 1993 at The New Yorker and became a television legal analyst for ABC in 1996.
Toobin has provided broadcast legal analysis on many high-profile cases. In 1994, Toobin broke the story in The New Yorker that the O. J. Simpson legal team in his criminal trial planned to play “the race card” by accusing Mark Fuhrman of planting evidence. Toobin provided analysis of Michael Jackson’s 2005 child molestation trial, the O.J. Simpson civil case, and the Starr investigation of President Clinton. He received a 2000 Emmy Award for his coverage of the Elián González custody saga.
Toobin joined CNN in 2002. In 2003, he secured the first interview with Martha Stewart about the insider trading charges against her.
Toobin is a longtime friend of Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, having met her while the two were classmates at Harvard Law School. He has described Chief Justice John Roberts as “very, very conservative.” Regarding Justice Clarence Thomas, Toobin has said that Thomas’ legal views were “highly unusual and extreme,” called him “a nut,” and said that Justice Thomas was “furious all the time.”
In March 2009, Politico revealed that Toobin was a member of the private discussion group JournoList, where “several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics…talked stories and compared notes.”
Toobin is a staff writer at The New Yorker, and he joined CNN 2002, where he is now chief legal analyst. He is the author of seven books. Toobin’s book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (2007), received awards from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. His next book, The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court, was published in 2012. His most recent book, American Heiress: The Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, came out in 2016. All were New York Times Best-Sellers.
In a 2011 discussion with journalist Fareed Zakaria, Toobin stated that he believes that the United States Constitution should be amended to eliminate the inequities of the Electoral College which allows for a presidential candidate to win the election despite having fewer popular votes than their opponent) and the United States Senate (which grants two senators to every state regardless of population.
In 1986, Toobin married Amy Bennett McIntosh. Paul Attanasio was best man, and Anne-Marie Slaughter was matron of honor. Toobin met Amy while they worked at the Harvard Crimson together in college. She is a 1980 Harvard graduate, holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and has held executive positions at Verizon and Zagat Survey. They have two adult children, a daughter and son.
Toobin had an extramarital affair with attorney Casey Greenfield. She is the daughter of American television journalist and author Jeff Greenfield and the ex-wife of screenwriter Matt Manfredi. They had a child in 2009.