President Joe Biden on Monday nominated eight new U.S. attorney positions across the country, including in the office overseeing the prosecution of hundreds of suspects indicted during the January 6 U.S. Capitol uprising.
Among the nominees announced Monday is Matthew Graves, a former prosecutor for fraud and corruption at the U.S. law firm in the District of Columbia, who is being tapped to head that office at a time when it’s being swallowed up by hundreds of cases. arising from the Capitol riots. He is currently a partner at DLA Piper.
Unlike other US law firms, the DC office deals with both federal and local crimes, including a spate of gun violence on DC streets.
The Trump administration appointee who held the position during the riots, Michael Sherwin, later left the Justice Department. The position was filled as acting by Channing Phillips, who held the same role during the Obama administration.
President Joe Biden has nominated a US attorney for Washington DC at a time when hundreds of cases are being seized as a result of the Capitol riots.
The US Attorney’s office in Washington DC handles local cases – including increasing gun violence in DC – and federal cases, such as the January 6 MAGA Uprising (above)
If confirmed by the Senate, the nominees would have offices in the District of Columbia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Washington State.
Most would be historic firsts, including the first black or female lawyers to head their districts, the Biden administration said.
The eight were “chosen for their dedication to the enforcement of the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials in this area, their commitment to the pursuit of equal justice for all and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice,” according to the statement. the White. House.
The nominees come as the Justice Department expands its leadership team under Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The 93 US Attorneys at the Department of Justice, who are responsible for federal criminal prosecutions in their respective districts, are likely to play a central role in efforts to combat violent crime.
The attorneys represent the first batch of US attorney nominees nominated by the Biden White House, which is still trying to fill key Justice Department posts in the administration for six months. The White House announced last week the appointment of a lawyer to head the antitrust division, but withdrew its candidate to head the civil division. No candidate has been announced for the principal role of Solicitor General.
Rachael Rollins, the district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, is said to be the first black woman to serve as a U.S. attorney in that state.
Rollins became the first black woman to be elected to the Massachusetts district attorney in 2018 and advocates progressive reforms to the role, including refusing to prosecute a series of minor, non-violent crimes that she believes have led to excessive incarceration, especially for people of color.
Erek Barron, a former federal prosecutor and policy adviser to Biden and a current state legislator, would be the first black U.S. attorney in the Maryland district, the White House said.
He worked for Biden and the United States Senate Judiciary Committee from 2007 to 2009 as their counsel and policy advisor.
The Maryland office also handles a range of high-profile prosecutions, including political corruption and domestic terrorism.
Rachael Rollins, the district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, would be the first black woman to serve as a U.S. attorney in that state (left) and would be Erek Barron, a former federal prosecutor and policy adviser to Biden and a current state legislator. the first black American attorney in the District of Maryland (right)
Other nominees include Zachary Myers, who specializes in national security and cyber matters as a Maryland federal prosecutor and who, according to the White House, would be the first black American attorney in the Southern District of Indiana; and Clifford Johnson, who would become the first black attorney to head the Northern District of Indiana after spending nearly 35 years in that office.
Justice Department environmental attorney Vanessa Waldref is said to be the first woman to head the US law firm in Washington’s Eastern District.
And Nicholas Brown, who has served as federal prosecutor and general counsel to the governor, is said to be the first black attorney to head Washington’s western district, which includes Seattle.
The Justice Department announced in February that it was calling for the resignation of most U.S. attorneys appointed during President Donald Trump’s administration, although it rejected David Weiss, the top federal prosecutor in Delaware, where law enforcement officials have conducted a criminal tax investigation. left in place. involving Biden’s son, Hunter.
U.S. attorneys serve to the satisfaction of the president and are routinely nominated with a recommendation from a home state senator. For example, Trini Ross, a former federal prosecutor nominated as US attorney for New York’s western district of Buffalo, was recommended for the job by senior state senator Charles Schumer.