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Thursday, December 2, 2021

President Biden Announces Nine New Nominees to Serve as U.S. Attorneys

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President Biden is announcing nine new nominees to serve as U.S. Attorneys across the country, officials who will be indispensable to upholding the rule of law as the top federal law enforcement officials for their districts.

These individuals were chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials in this field, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice.

The President has launched a comprehensive effort to take on the uptick in gun crime that has been taking place for the last 18 months—putting more cops on the beat, supporting community prevention programs, and cracking down on illegal gun trafficking. Confirming U.S. Attorneys as the chief federal law enforcement officers in their district is important for these efforts.

The President has now announced 25 nominees to serve as U.S. Attorneys.

U.S. Attorney Biographies

Clare E. Connors, U.S. Attorney nominee for the District of Hawaii
Clare E. Connors has served as the Attorney General of Hawaii since January 2019. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Connors was an attorney at the law firm of Davis Levin Livingston in Honolulu from 2011 to 2018. From 2004 to 2011, Ms. Connors served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii. Ms. Connors also served as a Trial Attorney in the Tax Division of the United States Department of Justice and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia from 2003 to 2004. Ms. Connors served as a law clerk for Judge David Alan Ezra on the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii from 2002 to 2003.

Ms. Connors received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2002 and her B.A., cum laude, from Yale College in 1996.

Zachary A. Cunha, U.S. Attorney nominee for the District of Rhode Island
Zachary A. Cunha is an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island, where he currently serves as Chief of the Civil Division. He joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island in 2014. Mr. Cunha served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York from 2005 to 2008 and the District of Massachusetts from 2008 to 2013. Mr. Cunha previously served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York from 2001 to 2005.

Mr. Cunha received his J.D., with honors, from The George Washington University Law School in 2001 and his A.B., with honors, from Brown University in 1998.

Michael F. Easley, Jr., U.S. Attorney nominee for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Michael F. Easley, Jr. is a litigation partner at the law firm of McGuireWoods LLP, where he has practiced since 2010. His practice at McGuireWoods LLP has focused on government investigations and a range of civil and criminal matters in both state and federal courts. Mr. Easley is also a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Eastern District of North Carolina, through which he has provided legal representation to indigent clients under federal indictment or investigation. He currently serves as a Council Member for the Criminal Justice Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina. Mr. Easley previously served on the Board of Directors for North Carolina’s Tenth Judicial District Bar and Wake County Bar Association. 

Mr. Easley received his J.D., with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 2010, and his B.A., with honors and distinction, from the University of North Carolina in 2007.

Cole Finegan, U.S. Attorney nominee for the District of Colorado
Cole Finegan has been the Managing Partner of the law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP in Denver since 2007. While at Hogan Lovells, Mr. Finegan also served as Regional Managing Partner of the Americas from 2014 to 2020. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Finegan served in dual positions as the Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Denver and as City Attorney. Prior to joining public service, Mr. Finegan was a partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber & Schreck from 1993 to 2003, where he also worked as an associate from 1987 to 1991. From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Finegan was the Chief Legal Counsel for the Office of the Governor of Colorado.

Mr. Finegan received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1986, while serving as Chief of Staff to United States Congressman James R. Jones. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1978.

Sandra J. Hairston, U.S. Attorney nominee for the Middle District of North Carolina
Sandra J. Hairston has served as the Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina since March 1, 2021. She joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina in 1990 as an Assistant United States Attorney. Ms. Hairston previously held the position of First Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina from 2014 to 2021. From 1994 to 1996, Ms. Hairston served as Chief of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina before returning to the Middle District of North Carolina in 1996. Ms. Hairston previously served as an Assistant District Attorney in Columbus County, North Carolina from 1987 to 1989 and as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Guilford County, North Carolina from 1989 to 1990.

Ms. Hairston received her J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1987 and her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1981.

Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney nominee for the Western District of North Carolina
Dena J. King is an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, where she has served since 2020 as the Deputy Criminal Chief for the Violent Crimes, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, and Narcotics Units. From 2014 to 2020, Ms. King served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney and then as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Ms. King was previously an Enforcement Attorney in the Securities Division at the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State from 2009 to 2014. From 2006 to 2008, Ms. King served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ms. King received her J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2006 and her B.S., magna cum laude, from North Carolina State University in 2003.

Nikolas P. Kerest, U.S. Attorney nominee for the District of Vermont
Nikolas P. Kerest is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont, where he has served since 2019. Previously, Mr. Kerest served in the Civil Division of the same office, first as an Assistant United States Attorney from 2010 to 2014 and then as Civil Chief from 2014 to 2019. While he was Civil Chief, Mr. Kerest also served as the Civil Rights Coordinator from 2014 to 2016. Mr. Kerest was in private practice at Pierce Atwood LLP in Portland, Maine from 2004 to 2010 and Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, Massachusetts from 2001 to 2004. Mr. Kerest served as a law clerk for Judge Fred I. Parker on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2000 to 2001.

Mr. Kerest received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2000 and his B.A. from Williams College in 1994.

Kenneth L. Parker, U.S. Attorney nominee for the Southern District of Ohio
Kenneth L. Parker is an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, where he has served since 1999. He served as Chief of the Criminal Division from 2011 to 2019 and as Chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force from 2010 to 2011. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Parker served as an Adjunct Professor of federal criminal practice at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Mr. Parker served as a law clerk for Judge S. Arthur Spiegel on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio from 1997 to 1999.

Mr. Parker received his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law in 1997 and his B.S., magna cum laude, from Tuskegee University in 1994.

Delia L. Smith, U.S. Attorney nominee for the District of Virgin Islands
Delia L. Smith currently serves as an Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of the Virgin Islands, where she has served since 2005. From 2012 to 2014, Ms. Smith was detailed to work as a Trial Attorney in the United States Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Smith was an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General for the Virgin Islands Department of Justice from 1999 to 2005. Ms. Smith served as a law clerk for Judge Ishmael Meyers on the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands from 1997 to 1999.
 
Ms. Smith received her J.D. from Texas Southern University in 1997 and her B.A. from the University of the Virgin Islands in 1993.

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