President Joe Biden is expected to nominate three prosecutors to run the U.S. attorney’s offices in New York state, including the first Black man to run the Southern District of New York in Manhattan and the first Black woman to head the Western District in Buffalo.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Tuesday that he was recommending Damian Williams as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District, Breon Peace in the Eastern District and Trini Ross in the Western District, making it virtually certain they will be the president’s nominees.
Williams, 40, a former law clerk to federal Judge Merrick Garland before he became attorney general, currently commands more than 20 prosecutors as chief of securities and commodities task force in the high-profile Southern District in Manhattan, one of the nation's busiest offices.
Williams, who also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, has been involved in a number of high-profile prosecutions in New York, including of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat,and of former U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican.
The Brooklyn-born Peace worked under former Attorney General Loretta Lynch when she was U.S. attorney in the Eastern District, based in Brooklyn. Lynch was promoted from U.S. attorney to be attorney general when Barack Obama was president.
Ross, a longtime federal prosecutor, is expected to run the office in the Buffalo-based Western District. Born and raised in Buffalo, Ross has also held top posts at the Justice Department in Washington.
“All three of these superb and accomplished attorneys have dedicated their careers to equal justice under the law and will bring a passion for the rule of law, civil rights and justice to their respective posts, as well as profound integrity and expertise to their offices,” Schumer said.
“I am confident all three of these legal leaders will pursue the facts and justice without fear or favor and will greatly help rebuild public confidence in an unbiased and professional Department of Justice. I am particularly proud to recommend the first African American to lead what many consider the most consequential prosecutorial office in America, the Southern District,” he added.
The Manhattan prosecutor's office has most recently drawn attention for its investigations of Rudolph Giuliani in connection with his overseas dealings and with its probe into former employees of financier Jeffrey Epstein in connection with his sexual abuse of girls and women before he killed himself in federal jail in August 2019.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors have been examining the state’s handling of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes in a probe that drew public attention after a top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the administration had delayed releasing information on nursing home deaths to the Legislature amid worries about how it would be used amid federal inquiries.