Two new US attorneys were confirmed by the Senate late Tuesday to posts in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Damian Williams, 41, was confirmed to be the US attorney for Manhattan’s Southern District, while Breon Peace was confirmed for the Eastern District — based in Brooklyn and including Long Island. Both must still be sworn in before they take up their new positions.
Williams — currently the chief of the securities and commodities unit at the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office — will be the first black person to serve in the role.
He will be replacing Audrey Strauss — mother-in-law of Melissa DeRosa, the top aide to disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. DeRosa admitted to covering up the state’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19 so that the real numbers couldn’t “be used against us” by federal prosecutors during the Trump administration.
Peace — a former Brooklyn assistant US attorney who currently works at law firm Cleary Gottlieb — is slated to replace acting Brooklyn US Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis. The office and the FBI are notably reviewing the Cuomo nursing home scandal.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, one of the premier offices in the country,” Kasulis said in a statement. “Our office is excited to welcome back U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, who we all know will do an outstanding job leading the office.”
Williams and Peace were recommended for the powerful posts by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in March.
“Both Damian Williams and Breon Peace have dedicated their careers to equal justice under the law,” Schumer said in a statement. “They 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.”
“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,” the statement continued. “I am confident that these prosecutors will work hard to confront wrongdoing in all its forms in a fair and focused way.”
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