James Britt Donovan was an American lawyer and Commander in the United States Navy Reserve. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he helped draft the legislation setting up the Central Intelligence Agency. He earned public attention as a defense lawyer for a Russian spy leader.[1] He worked as an agent for the Kennedy administration, negotiating deals with Fidel Castro, and with the Russian government for the release of a captured U-2 spy plane pilot,[2] for which he won the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

Donovan was assistant trial counsel in the Nuremberg Trials.[3] He presented at the trial filmed evidence of Nazi abuses against the Jews.[4]

In 1962, Donovan was the Kennedy-backed Democratic candidate for a Senate seat in the state of New York against Jacob Javits.[5]

For the last two years of his life, Donovan was president of New York art school the Pratt Institute. Donovan died in 1970.[6]

1962 New York State Democratic Ticket[edit | edit source]

James B Donovan was a partner in Watters and Donovan, and worked with the prominent insurance and admiralty law firm of Donovan, Donovan, Maloof and Walsh. John Patrick Walsh was his law partner.

References[edit | edit source]

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Wagner, Jr.
Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate from New York (Class 3)
Succeeded by
Paul O'Dwyer

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