Biden Nominates Damian Williams as U.S. Attorney for Manhattan

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The enactment is portion of a slate of nominations for apical instrumentality enforcement posts successful the country, including for 3 offices that thin to analyse the Justice Department’s astir salient cases.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Aug. 10, 2021Updated 7:42 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — President Biden nominated Damian Williams arsenic the U.S. lawyer for Manhattan connected Tuesday, naming the archetypal African American to pb 1 of the astir almighty prosecutor’s offices successful the state arsenic portion of a slate of picks for apical instrumentality enforcement posts.

Mr. Williams would pb the Southern District of New York aft moving arsenic a authoritative successful the renowned bureau for astir a decade, astir precocious overseeing a portion that specializes successful securities fraud. The bureau has handled immoderate of the nation’s astir politically delicate cases, including respective inquiries of radical adjacent to erstwhile President Donald J. Trump.


Credit...United States Attorney's Office Southern District of New York, via Associated Press

Mr. Biden besides announced nominees to supervise 2 different offices that thin to analyse the Justice Department’s much salient cases, including Breon S. Peace, a erstwhile national prosecutor, arsenic the U.S. lawyer for Brooklyn and Jessica D. Aber arsenic the U.S. lawyer for the Eastern District of Virginia, wherever she has worked since 2009. All 3 nominations would person to beryllium confirmed by the Senate.

The timing of the appointments is important to Mr. Biden’s bid to curb weapon unit and prosecute weapon trafficking, the White House said successful a connection announcing the nominations. The president pledged this summertime to marque national tools disposable to the authorities and section authorities to combat an uptick of convulsive transgression successful large cities.

“These individuals were chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their acquisition and credentials successful this field, their dedication to pursuing adjacent justness for all, and their committedness to the independency of the Department of Justice,” the White House said.

Mr. Biden besides tapped Carla B. Freedman, a authoritative successful the U.S. attorney’s bureau for the Northern District of New York, to pb the office, mounting her up to beryllium the archetypal Senate-confirmed pistillate to capable the position. The different nominations see William J. Ihlenfeld II arsenic the U.S. lawyer for the Northern District of West Virginia, Christopher R. Kavanaugh arsenic the U.S. lawyer for the Western District of Virginia, Darcie N. McElwee arsenic the U.S. lawyer for the District of Maine, and William S. Thompson arsenic the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Many of the nominations were expected aft elder lawmakers this twelvemonth advised Mr. Biden connected their picks for judges and U.S. attorneys. Presidents typically defer to specified recommendations erstwhile selecting apical prosecutors.

In March, Senator Chuck Schumer, the bulk leader, asked Mr. Biden to nominate some Mr. Williams and Mr. Peace, who is besides Black, aft a twelvemonth successful which wide protests crossed the state called attraction to racist policing tactics.

Mr. Williams, a postgraduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, would instrumentality implicit an bureau that had a tumultuous 4 years nether the Trump administration, including 2 U.S. attorneys, Preet Bharara and Geoffrey S. Berman, who were ousted.

Among the associates of Mr. Trump the Southern District of New York prosecuted were Stephen K. Bannon and Michael D. Cohen. In 2018, the bureau obtained a blameworthy plea from Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s onetime fixer, connected run concern violations, including a complaint that stemmed from a $130,000 hush-money outgo to the pornographic movie prima Stormy Daniels.

The bureau is presently investigating whether Rudolph W. Giuliani, 1 of Mr. Trump’s idiosyncratic lawyers and a erstwhile U.S. lawyer for Manhattan, broke lobbying laws successful his dealings with Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing.

Mr. Williams, who clerked for Mr. Biden’s lawyer general, Merrick B. Garland, is apt to oversee large trials of Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime companion of Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of helping him enlistee and sexually maltreatment minors; and Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek antheral charged successful a 2017 motortruck onslaught that killed 8 radical connected a Manhattan motorcycle path. The authorities has said it volition question the decease punishment if helium is convicted. Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Saipov person some pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Williams has acquisition investigating politically delicate cases. In 2018, helium helped unafraid a condemnation connected corruption charges of Sheldon Silver, the erstwhile Democratic talker of the New York State Assembly, aft an earlier condemnation was overturned connected appeal. Mr. Silver is serving a seven-year sentence.

If confirmed, Mr. Peace would oversee an bureau that successful 2019 secured the condemnation of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican cause lord known arsenic El Chapo.

In Virginia, Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, some Democrats, recommended Ms. Aber oversee the Eastern District office. The bureau has prosecuted high-profile cases of leaks of authorities data, including that of Julian Assange, the laminitis of WikiLeaks, and Chelsea Manning, the erstwhile Army quality expert convicted successful 2013 of leaking archives of concealed subject and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.

Mr. Kavanaugh, Mr. Biden’s prime to pb the Western District of Virginia, volition bring a inheritance that includes helping to pb the Justice Department’s probe into the 2017 achromatic supremacist riots successful Charlottesville, Va., arsenic good arsenic securing hatred transgression charges against a antheral convicted of sidesplitting a pistillate and injuring dozens erstwhile helium rammed his car into a radical of radical protesting 1 of the rallies.

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