Cynthia Alksne is a career federal prosecutor, MSNBC Legal Analyst, and expert on criminal law, grand jury and police investigations and confrontational interviewing techniques. She has tried more than fifty cases to verdict and analyzed thousands more — as a prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, as an Assistant US Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington where she worked for former Attorney General Eric Holder and alongside former FBI Director Robert Mueller, as Assistant District Attorney in the Brooklyn, NY District Attorney’s Office, and as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas. She has investigated and secured or negotiated guilty pleas and/or plea agreements in hundreds of criminal cases.
Cynthia has supervised complex crime-scene and criminal investigations, FBI interviews and investigations, FBI-administered lie-detector tests, and negotiated plea negotiations involving multiple defendants. She has handled cases involving weeks of grand jury investigations and live testimony, leading to dozens of indictments. She has a deep understanding of DOJ investigative policies, grand jury protocols, and FBI practices and procedures. Alksne has prosecuted cases involving a wide range of charges including police brutality, rape and sexual assault, criminal civil rights cases including prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members, narcotics cases and more.
As a television analyst, Cynthia has the unique ability to bring clarity to multifaceted investigations and trials. She easily explains the how cases are triaged, evaluated, and prosecuted to the non-lawyer in a way that brings the viewer into the conversation. She recently took some time away to from the courtroom to raise four daughters and pursue other interests, which have included teaching trial advocacy, interrogation and trial techniques to young attorneys at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in San Diego; two years as a PTA president for the Franklin Sherman Elementary School; and four years on the Virginia Department of Corrections as an appointee of Governor Tim Kaine. Most recently, Cynthia has been doing pro-bono legal work for victims of spousal or sexual abuse in the District of Columbia.
Cynthia is married to Steve McMahon, a Democratic Strategist and the co-founder and CEO of Purple Strategies. She is the mother of four daughters who are now in college, a dog-lover, a certified Pilates teacher and a longtime season ticket holder and fan of Stanley Cup champions the Washington Capitals.