Peace, new Eastern District federal prosecutor, confirmed by Senate along with Southern District counterpart
The U.S. Senate late Tuesday confirmed President Joe Biden’s choices to lead the federal prosecutors’ offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Breon Peace will become U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, headquartered in Brooklyn, while Damian Williams will become the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.
The Eastern District comprises the counties of Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Nassau, Richmond (Staten Island) and Suffolk; while the Southern District comprises the counties of Bronx, Dutchess, New York (Manhattan), Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester.
Both offices have been involved in high-profile prosecutions.
The Eastern District prosecuted R&B singer R. Kelly, who was convicted last month of racketeering and sex trafficking after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for predatory behavior toward young people, mostly women, and children.
The Eastern District also is overseeing the investigation of Tom Barrack, a private equity real estate investor and the chair of Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee, who has pleaded not guilty to charges that he secretly lobbied the U.S. on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
The Southern District handled the well-known 2018 prosecution of Michael Cohen, at one time the personal lawyer of former President Donald Trump, on campaign finance violations and other charges.
Peace, a partner at the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, served in the Eastern District office from 2000 to 2002 under former Attorney General Loretta Lynch when she was the U.S. attorney there.
According to information Peace provided, while at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he handled a wide array of federal criminal investigations and prosecutions trying cases to verdict and arguing appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Then, from August 2002 to July 2003, Peace was an acting assistant professor of clinical law at New York University School of Law. He rejoined Cleary Gottleib in September 2003.
Among the highlights of his tenure with the firm have been representing BNP Paribas, a French international banking corporation, in federal court litigation related to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme; and representing HSBC in various investigations conducted by regulatory agencies here as well as in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Peace also was named “Private Practitioner of the Year” by the Metropolitan Black Bar Association in 2020.
Williams is currently chief of the securities and commodities task force in the Southern District office, where he oversees more than 20 prosecutors.
Biden nominated Williams and Peace as U.S. attorneys in August after they were recommended by Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York’s senior U.S. senator.
Peace will succeed Jacquelyn Kasulis, who has been acting U.S. attorney since June. Williams will succeed Audrey Strauss, who has led the office for more than a year.
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