The U.S. Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s choices to lead the federal prosecutors’ offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The confirmation late Tuesday of Damian Williams as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan marks the first time the office will be led by a Black person. Breon Peace, who is also Black, will become U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.
Both offices have been involved in high-profile prosecutions. The Southern District handled the 2018 prosecution of Michael Cohen, at one time the personal lawyer of former President Donald Trump, on campaign finance violations and other charges.
The Eastern District prosecuted 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.
In the Eastern District, the office is overseeing the investigation of Tom Barrack, 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.
Williams currently serves as chief of the office’s securities and commodities task force.
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.
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.
Williams will succeed Audrey Strauss, who has led the office for more than a year. Peace will succeed Jacquelyn Kasulis, who has been acting U.S. attorney since June.