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Attorney General Dana Nessel Announces Department Chief Legal Counsel, DEI Director
December 14, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced the appointments of Linus Banghart-Linn as Chief Legal Counsel and Koula Black, who has been hired as the Department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist.
“I’m thrilled to have these two experienced and exceptionally talented individuals among my staff,” Nessel said. “Linus has already demonstrated his extensive legal knowledge and dedication in representing the State in various appellate court cases. Koula brings a wealth of experience as a law enforcement officer committed to advancing the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I know the Department and state will benefit from Linus and Koula’s leadership.”
Banghart-Linn came to the Department in 2010 after serving as a prehearing attorney at the Michigan Court of Appeals. He started in the Department of Attorney General’s Criminal Trials and Appeals Division and in that role, he defended federal habeas petitions at all levels of the federal courts and served as an appellate prosecutor in state courts for felony convictions in some of Michigan’s least populous counties.
In 2018, Banghart-Linn received the Department’s Excellence in Appellate Advocacy Award. He was tasked in 2020 with assisting the Governor’s Office in crafting emergency executive orders to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, Banghart-Linn became an Assistant Solicitor General in the Solicitor General Division, which oversees the Department’s appellate litigation. In that position, he assisted in the Division’s supervision of all appellate work performed by the Department of Attorney General, including reviewing and approving notices and requests to appeal, reviewing appellate briefs and other filings, and participating in moot courts. After serving as the Department’s Acting Chief Legal Counsel starting in August of this year, he has been made Chief Legal Counsel, making his appointment to the position long-term.
As the Department’s Chief Legal Counsel, Banghart-Linn will advise and assist the Attorney General, the Executive Division, and the rest of the Department in all areas, including legislative analysis, Freedom of Information Act requests, litigation strategy, Special Assistant Attorney General appointments, multistate amicus and letter filings, and the development of internal policies and procedures.
Banghart-Linn has a B.A. in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from Michigan State University and a J.D. summa cum laude from Michigan State University College of Law (2009). He also serves as an adjunct law professor at MSU College of Law, where he coaches the teams that participate in the annual National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition.
Banghart-Linn is originally from Lansing and lives in Owosso with his wife and two children.
In her role as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist, Black will lead the DEI efforts for the Michigan Department of Attorney General. She will build upon the Attorney General’s commitment to embedding the values of DEI into the Department’s operations and creating an inclusive work environment for all staff members at the Department.
Black has far-reaching experience in DEI work. After earning a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Specialist certificate from the Academy to Innovate HR program, she implemented the Salisbury, North Carolina Police Department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. In that law enforcement agency, she also held the position of Organizational Development Lieutenant. Her other law enforcement positions include Operations Chief, Public Information Officer, and Drug Agent.
Black has completed police academies in two states and has worked with a variety of law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels as a sworn law enforcement officer. She has earned several law enforcement awards, including the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Case of the Year Award in 2018 for her involvement with “Operation Trinity Cross.” Black’s other accolades include being selected the 2016-2017 Officer of the Year by the Mocksville, North Carolina Police Department and being selected by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to be a Community Policing Committee member.
She has multiple certifications including DEI, executive leadership, public administration, public relations, and organizational development, amongst others.
Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music. She then completed the Administrative Officers Management Certificate Program at North Carolina University and received her Master of Arts degree in Theatre from Regent University. Black is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership at Regent University.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Black’s family hails from Greece and Egypt. In her family, she is a first-generation American and a first-generation college graduate. Black now lives in Detroit with her two rescue dogs.