William S. Sessions, who served as FBI director under three presidents, dies at 90

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(CNN) — William S. Sessions, a former FBI director who served in the role under three presidents, died Friday morning in San Antonio. He was 90.

Sessions’ daughter Sara Sessions confirmed her father’s death to CNN, and a spokesperson for the congressional campaign of his son, Pete Sessions, told CNN the elder Sessions passed away at the home of a relative there.

A former federal judge and veteran of the United States Air Force, Sessions’ FBI directorship was marked by a number of high-profile controversies, as well as a focus on recruiting more women and minorities into the FBI’s ranks.

He was tapped by President Ronald Reagan for the position of FBI director and was sworn in on November 2, 1987, after a unanimous Senate confirmation of 90-0. He led the agency from 1987 until his firing in 1993 by President Bill Clinton after the Justice Department issued a report raising allegations of ethical abuses by Sessions.

He was the first FBI director to be removed from office. James Comey was the second, after being fired by President Donald Trump in 2017.

In a news conference announcing the firing, Clinton said that “serious questions have been raised about the conduct and leadership” of the FBI director, citing a Justice Department report into alleged ethical abuses by Sessions. The DOJ report included allegations such as “evading taxes and refusing to cooperate with an investigation of a home mortgage loan,” the New York Times reported at the time.

Speaking after his firing, Sessions denied the allegations of wrongdoing, saying that in all of his time in government he had been “ever mindful of the absolute requirement to serve with excellence, honor, and integrity.”

He previously served as the chief judge of the US District Court of Western Texas, worked as chief of the Government Operations Section of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department and as a US Attorney for the Western District of Texas.

During his tenure as FBI director, Sessions oversaw the agency during a number of high-profile controversial events, including the 1992 incident at Ruby Ridge in Idaho, and the 1993 seizure of a Waco, Texas, area compound involving supporters of cult leader David Koresh.

After leaving office, Sessions was involved in promoting Texas Exile, a government-funded project aimed at identifying and prosecuting violent gun offenders.

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