Christopher Wray was born in 1966 to Cecil Wray Jr., a partner at the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm, and Gilda (Gates) Wray, a program officer for the Charles Hayden Foundation. He attended Phillips Academy.
In 1989, Wray graduated cum laude from Yale University, then earned his law degree in 1992 at Yale Law School. While at Yale, Wray was the executive editor of the Yale Law Journal. Wray spent a year clerking for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Wray joined the government in 1997 as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001 he moved to the Justice Department as associate deputy attorney general and principal associate deputy attorney general.
In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Wray as assistant attorney general in charge of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department.Wray was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Wray was assistant attorney general from 2003 to 2005, working under James Comey and eventually becoming Deputy Attorney General.
Wray joined King & Spalding in 2005 as a litigation partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C., and Atlanta offices. He represented several Fortune 100 companies and chaired the King & Spalding Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group.
His firm biography says that he “helped lead the Department’s efforts to address the wave of corporate fraud scandals and restore integrity to U.S. financial markets.”
At the firm, Wray jumped to the other side of corruption cases, helping major corporations — as well as Christie, one of Trump’s biggest supporters — fend off allegations of corruption. He is also known to have played a major role in the department's post-9/11 response.
According to his profile on the firm’s website, Wray has defended many Fortune 100 companies in white collar crime cases, some of which were spearheaded by the Justice Department.
He oversaw the task force that investigated Enron after the energy company’s notorious and corrupt collapse. The investigation led to convictions for several Enron executives and auditors who helped orchestrate the corporation's years of financial deception.
Wray specializes in white collar law and internal investigations, according to the Justice Department site. He represented the New Jersey governor. Chris Christie, a Trump ally in the Bridgegate Scandal surrounding the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013 as a way to attack political opponents. Christie was never charged but two of his allies were convicted. Earlier this month, Christie championed Wray as a potential pick for FBI director.
He also represented the Swiss bank Credit Suisse AG in a tax evasion case that ended in a $2.6 billion settlement with U.S. authorities. In 2014, the bank pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid and assist U.S. taxpayers in filing false income tax returns.
On June 7, 2017, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he would be nominating Wray to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, replacing James Comey, who was fired by Trump earlier that year. Trump interviewed Wray for the vacant FBI director job on May 30, according to Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Trump’s announcement about Wray came out of the blue one day before Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his conversations with Trump regarding the federal criminal probe into his campaign.
Unlike Comey, who spent decades rising through the ranks of government, Wray would take over the FBI with a truncated track record of public service.
Wray will need Senate confirmation to take over the bureau.
"Chris Wray is an extraordinary person, possessing all the gifts necessary to be a great Director of the FBI," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "I congratulate President Trump for choosing a leader of proven skill, independence, and integrity, a man in whom all Americans can have confidence."
Trump met with Wray on May 30, with Wray emerging as a late contender for the FBI job.