Attorney Damian Williams nominated to be first Black federal prosecutor for Manhattan

by Erika DuBose
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Damian Williams: US Attorney’s Office/Twitter

Attorney Damian Williams, who oversaw the prosecution of former Representative Christopher Collins, has been tapped by the Biden administration to lead one of the largest federal prosecuting offices in the country. Upon confirmation by the Senate, Mr. Williams will be the first Black man to step in the role, leading the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan.

Currently Mr. Williams works in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, as chief of a securities task force. Mr. Williams has a strong track record for prosecuting criminal and civil trials, most notably that of former Representative Christopher Collins, who was found guilty of insider trading and lying to the FBI. 

High-profile office

Mr. Williams also prosecuted New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for bribery and extortion. 

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York handles some of the country’s most notorious cases of civil and criminal activity focusing on Wall Street bankers, including fraud, securities, and going all the way up to terrorism. Currently the office is examining former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as attorney and spokesman for former President Donald Trump. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer nominates multiple Black attorneys for federal prosecutor jobs

Mr. Williams’ name was initially suggested to the Biden administration by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who also mentioned Breon Peace for New York state’s Eastern District, covering Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, and Trini Ross for upstate New York’s Western District, focused on Buffalo and Rochester. Both are Black lawyers with hard-hitting histories of advocacy for truth and justice.

“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,” Senator Schumer said in a statement. All three attorneys will need Senate confirmation before taking their new roles, and while the Senate is bitterly divided between Democrats and Republicans, objections to the nominations are not expected.

Mr. Williams is a graduate of Yale Law School, and is a former court clerk for Merrick Garland, now the United States Attorney General. 

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