Aug 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden picks Damian Williams to lead powerful Manhattan U.S. attorney's office

Joe Biden.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden nominated Damian Williams to be the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, among a slate of names he picked to some of the nation's most powerful law enforcement posts Tuesday.

Why it matters: Williams would be the first Black person to land one of the most coveted positions in prosecution. The powerful Manhattan-based office has had purview over some of the nation's most high-profile cases, like several inquiries into associates of former President Trump.

  • Williams, a former clerk on the Supreme Court for Justice John Paul Stevens, currently leads a securities fraud unit in the SDNY office.

Of note: Biden also nominated Jessica Aber to be the attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where she currently serves as a federal prosecutor, and lawyer Breon Peace to the same position in the Eastern District of New York.

  • Both offices tend to handle sensitive and politically-charged cases.

Other U.S. attorney appointments named Tuesday include Carla Freedman to the Northern District of New York, William Ihlenfeld II to the Northern District of West Virginia, Christopher Kavanaugh to the Western District of Virginia, Darcie McElwee to the District of Maine and William Thompson to the Southern District of West Virginia.

Between the lines: The White House wrote in a statement that confirming the nominations would be key to the Biden administration's "effort to take on the uptick in gun crime that has been taking place for the last 18 months[.]"

What they're saying: "These individuals were chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials in this field, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice," the White House wrote in a statement.

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