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 TicketEdit

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.


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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