Thomas Jefferson


Judge Brinkema has presided over some of the most closely watched cases of the decade, including the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the first person convicted for crimes related to the 9/11 terror attacks. At the conclusion of the trial, during which Moussaoui represented himself and received a life sentence without parole, Judge Brinkema famously told the still-defiant Moussaoui, "You came here to be a martyr and die in a great big bang of glory, but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper." Drawing on her experience presiding over terrorism prosecutions in the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Brinkema will discuss balancing the demands of national security and international terrorism cases with the intense scrutiny these cases draw from the media and the public. In addition to the Moussaoui case, Judge Brinkema sentenced al-Qaeda operative Lyman Faris to twenty years in prison for providing material support to the group. A graduate of Rutgers University and Cornell Law School, Judge Brinkema's legal career includes service as an assistance U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. She was nominated to U.S. District Court by President Bill Clinton and confirmed to the bench in 1993. In addition to her terrorism cases, Judge Brinkema presided over two of the earliest cases focused on the internet. One case involved a public library's authority to block access to certain web sites from public access computers in the library. In the other case, several Virginia state employees challenged the constitutionality of a state statute barring state employees from using their computers at work to view pornographic materials.


United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia
October 21, 1993 to present

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
United States Magistrate Judge (full time)
October 1, 1985 to October 20, 1993

Leonie M. Brinkema, Attorney at Law
Alexandria, Virginia
May 1, 1984 to September 30, 1985

United States Department of Justice
Trial Attorney (Criminal Division)
Office of International Affairs
July 1983 to April 1984

United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia
Assistant United States Attorney
(Chief of Criminal Division for one and one-half years)
July 1977 to June 1983

United States Department of Justice
Trial Attorney (Criminal Division - Honors Program)
Public Integrity Section
August 1976 to July 1977


Cornell Law School
Ithaca, New York
Juris Doctor cum laude
August l973 to May 1976

Rutgers University Graduate School of Library Service
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Masters Degree in Library Service
September 1969 to August l970

New York University
New York City, New York
Graduate studies in philosophy (no degree)
January 1967 to Spring 1969

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Graduate studies in philosophy (no degree)
August 1966 to December 1966

Douglass College
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Bachelor of Arts with honors (philosophy major)
September 1962 to June 1966


Phi Beta Kappa
Woodrow Wilson Foundation Graduate Fellowship
Danforth Foundation Graduate Fellowship
Membership in Douglass College Society


Virginia State Bar Professionalism Faculty
Legal Ethics - 1990 to 1992

Northern Virginia Community College
Evidence - Fall semester - 1985

Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy
Virginia Criminal Law and Procedure - 1984 - 1985

CLE programs and guest lectures for the Alexandria Bar Association, Alexandria Women Attorneys Association, Virginia Women Attorneys Association, United States Department of Justice Advocacy Institute, American University School of Law, George Washington University Graduate School, and the Virginia Law Foundation


Virginia State Bar
District of Columbia Bar
Virginia Women Attorneys Association


"Judicial Review in the Federal Courts in Virginia," Winning Social
Security Disability Claims (Virginia Law Foundation: 1992) at II

"A Magistrate Judge's View: Settlement Conferences in the Eastern District of Virginia," The Journal of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Fall 1992 at 26-29.