United States President Joe Biden has nominated Jamaican American Damian Williams to be the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). If selected, Williams would be the first Black individual to serve in one of the most prestigious and coveted roles in prosecution. SDNY, which is based in Manhattan, handles some of the most high-profile cases in the US, including inquiries into the associates of the former president, Donald Trump.
Williams is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School. He formerly clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens of the US Supreme Court. He currently heads a securities fraud unit in the SDNY office. He also clerked for US Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Williams is experienced in investigating politically sensitive cases, including that of Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime companion of Jeffrey Epstein charged with aiding in the recruitment and sexual abuse of minors, and Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek man charged in the 2017 truck attack that killed eight people on a bike path in Manhattan. In 2018, he was instrumental in securing the conviction on charges of corruption of Sheldon Silver, former Democratic Speaker of the New York State Assembly following an overturn of an earlier conviction on appeal.
Before becoming the District’s US Attorney, Williams headed the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force at SDNY, overseeing more than 20 federal prosecutors in cases that involved insider trading, financial fraud, market manipulation, and fraudulent investment schemes.
A statement from the White House noted that the confirmation of Williams’ nomination, along with that of Jessica Aber to be the attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Breon Peace to the same position in the Eastern District of New York, highlights the Bide Administration’s efforts to address the increase in gun crimes that has been occurring over the past 18 months. Court observers believe the timing of these appointments indicated the effort of President Biden to make good a pledge to make federal tools available to state and local authorities for curbing and prosecuting gun trafficking and violence.
The statement noted that the individuals nominated by President Biden were selected for their devotion to law enforcement, their experience and professionalism, their dedication to the pursuit of equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the US Justice Department.
Photo Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office