Biden Nominates Damian Williams as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan
Williams would be the first black person to lead of one of the most high-profile federal prosecutor offices in the country.
Among other notable news coming out of New York this week, President Joseph Biden has nominated Damian Williams as the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. Williams would be the first African American to lead one the country’s most powerful and high-profile prosecutor’s offices.
A former clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and Judge and current Attorney General Merrick Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Williams has worked as a prosecutor in the office for a decade, most recently serving as chief of its Securities and Commodities Task Force.
Williams was born in Brooklyn to Jamaican presidents and went to study Economics at Harvard University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, among other honors. Williams also earned a master of Philosophy in international relations at Cambridge University and a law degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of “The Yale Law Journal.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York handles some of the nation’s most prominent and politically sensitive cases, including inquiries into several associates of former President Donald Trump. The office also handles complex prosecutions related to terrorism, insider trading, fraud, and corruption. Williams was recently recommended for the position by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
In this role, Williams would likely oversee the trials of Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein recruit and abuse minors, and Sayfullo Saipov, charged in the 2017 truck attack that took eight lives on a New York City bike path. Three years ago, he helped secure a corruption conviction for Sheldon Silver, former speaker of the New York State Assembly; Silver is presently serving a seven-year sentence. He has also prosecuted and tried significant securities fraud and corruption cases.
Outside of the office, 40-year-old Williams has served on the board of Human Rights First, the Council on African American Affairs and Boys Speak Out.