Federal Prosecutors for Manhattan and Brooklyn Confirmed by the Senate

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. Photo: U.S. Attorney’s Office

Amid an intra-party stalemate in the talks to pass the infrastructure bill, the Senate confirmed the top prosecutors for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, two of the most-high profile U.S. Attorney’s offices in the nation.

Damian Williams, a supervising prosecutor in the Southern District of New York and a former clerk for Attorney General Merrick Garland when Garland was a federal appeals court judge, will be the new U.S. attorney for the SDNY headquartered in Manhattan. Breon Peace, a partner at a downtown white-shoe law firm and a former clerk for U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson Jr., will be the new U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District headquartered in Brooklyn. Williams will be the first Black prosecutor leading the SDNY, and Peace will be the fourth Black U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District.

Both offices have seen significant turmoil and political upheaval during the Trump administration, when the former president fired two U.S. Attorneys in the SDNY — including Geoffrey Berman, whom former attorney general William Barr tried to switch out with a political ally. In the Eastern District,
Peace will now be the eighth person to lead the office since Loretta Lynch was nominated by Obama in 2015. Williams will now oversee several highly scrutinized cases, including the sex-trafficking trial of Jeffrey Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell and the ongoing investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine. U.S. Attorneys in the Eastern District have also led several notorious cases in recent years, including the prosecution of R. Kelly last month and the trial of El Chapo in 2019.

“Both Damian Williams and Breon Peace have dedicated their careers to equal justice under the law,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Tuesday. “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.”

Senate Confirms Top Prosecutors for Manhattan and Brooklyn