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U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston appointed to serve on Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s Advisory Committee

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WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced the  appointment of 12 U.S. Attorneys to serve on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys. Created in 1973, the AGAC advises the attorney general on matters of policy, procedure, and management impacting the Offices of the U.S. Attorneys and elevates the voices of U.S. Attorneys in Department policies. The first meeting of the  AGAC will take place later this spring. 

The appointees include U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York; U.S. Attorney Cindy K. Chung for the Western District of Pennsylvania; U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee for the District of Maine; U.S. Attorney Trini Ross for the  Western District of New York; U.S. Attorney Sandra Hairston for the Middle District of North Carolina; U.S. Attorney Brandon Brown for the Western District of Louisiana; U.S.  Attorney Dawn Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan; U.S. Attorney Gregory Harris for the Central District of Illinois; U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger for the District of Minnesota; U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino for the District of Arizona; U.S. Attorney Cole  Finegan for the District of Colorado; and U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves for the District of Columbia. An appointee from a district within the jurisdiction of the Eleventh Circuit of  the U.S. Court of Appeals will be announced at a later date, once the Senate has confirmed nominees. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams will serve as the chair of the AGAC, and U.S. Attorney Cindy Chung will serve as the vice chair. 

“These United States Attorneys will represent the views of dedicated federal prosecutors across the country, and provide advice and insight into essential matters facing the  Department,” said Attorney General Garland. “I look forward to working alongside them in carrying out the Department’s core priorities of upholding the rule of law, keeping our country safe, and protecting civil rights.”

“I am honored to be appointed to the AGAC,” said U.S. Attorney Hairston, “and I look forward to the opportunity to consult with Attorney General Garland and other Department of Justice officials on issues affecting the United States Attorney’s Offices and federal law enforcement.” 

A brief bio on each appointee is below: 

Damian Williams (Chair) 

The Senate confirmed Damian Williams’ appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Southern  District of New York in October 2021. Williams began his legal career as a law clerk to  then-Judge Merrick Garland when he served in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District  of Columbia Circuit from 2007 to 2008. Williams then served as a law clerk for  Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court from 2008 to 2009. From 2009 to  2012, he was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. From  2012 to 2021, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the  Southern District of New York. In the role, he served as a chief of the securities and  commodities fraud task force from 2018 to 2021. He received his Bachelor of Arts in  economics from Harvard University in 2002, a Master of Philosophy in international  relations from Emmanuel College at the University of Cambridge in 2003, and a Juris  Doctor from Yale Law School in 2007, where he was also an editor of the Yale Law  Journal. 

Cindy K. Chung (Vice Chair) 

The Senate confirmed Cindy K. Chung’s appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Western  District of Pennsylvania in November 2021. In 2002 and 2003, Chung served as a law clerk  for Judge Myron H. Thompson in the Middle District of Alabama. She then joined the New  York County District Attorney’s Office in 2003, serving as an assistant district attorney  until 2007 and as investigation counsel in the Official Corruption Unit from 2007 to 2009.  From 2009 to 2014, Chung served as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil  Rights Division. She later joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of  Pennsylvania, serving as deputy chief of the major crimes division. From 2014 to 2021,  she served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Chung earned a Bachelor of Arts from Yale  University in 1997 and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School in 2002. 

Darcie McElwee 

The Senate confirmed Darcie McElwee’s appointment as U.S. Attorney for the District of  Maine in October 2021. McElwee began her legal career as an assistant district attorney  for the Penobscot and Piscataquis counties in Maine from 1998 to 2002. Between 2005  and 2008, McElwee was an adjunct professor of advanced trial advocacy at the University  of Maine School of Law. From 2002 to 2021, she served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in  the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine. Since 2005, she has been the  coordinator of Project Safe Neighborhoods. McElwee received her Bachelor of  Arts from Bowdoin College in 1995 and her Juris Doctor from the University of Maine  School of Law in 1998. 

Trini Ross

The Senate confirmed Trini Ross’s appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Western District  of New York in September 2021. Ross began her career as an appellate attorney for  the New York Supreme Court. She was an associate at Hiscock & Barclay LLC before  joining the Office of Professional Responsibility as assistant counsel. From 1995 to 2018,  Ross served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York. She has  also been an adjunct professor of law at Buffalo Law School. She has also served as director  of the investigations for the National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General since  2018. Ross earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at  Fredonia in 1988, a Master of Arts from Rutgers University in 1990, and a Juris  Doctor from the University at Buffalo Law School in 1992. 

Sandra Hairston 

The Senate confirmed Sandra Hairston as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North  Carolina in November 2021. 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. From 1994 to 1996, she  served as Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern  District of North Carolina before returning to the Middle District of North Carolina in 1996.  She joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina in 1990 as  an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Hairston previously held the position of First Assistant U.S.  Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina from 2014 to 2021. From March 1,  2021, until her Senate confirmation, she served as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle  District of North Carolina. Hairston received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of  North Carolina at Charlotte in 1981 and her Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central  University School of Law in 1987. 

Brandon Brown 

The Senate confirmed Brandon Brown as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana in December 2021. From 2007 to 2012, Brown served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Ouachita Parish District Attorney’s Office. He was also an associate at Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice LLP in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Since 2012, he has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District  of Louisiana. Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in 2002 and a Master of Business Administration in 2004 from Louisiana Tech University, followed by a Juris Doctor in 2007 from the Southern University Law Center. 

Dawn Ison 

The Senate confirmed Dawn Ison as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan in December 2021. In 1989 and 1990, Ison was a prehearing attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 2002, Ison began serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. She also served as chief of the Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit. Ison earned a Bachelor of Arts from Spelman College and a Juris Doctor from the Wayne State University Law School. 

Gregory Harris 

The Senate confirmed Gregory Harris as U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois in December 2021. Harris began his career as a lawyer for the Office of the State Appellate Defender in 1976 where he represented indigent criminal defendants on appeal. From 1979 to 1980, he served as legal counsel for the Illinois Governor’s Office of Manpower and Human Development and later as a staff attorney for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Development. From 1980 to 1988, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois. From 1988 to 2001, he was a lawyer for Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes in Springfield, Illinois. He later rejoined the Central District of Illinois in 2001, where he served as chief of the Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney. Harris was born in Washington, D.C. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in 1971 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law in 1976. 

Andrew Luger 

The Senate confirmed Andrew Luger as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota in March 2022. He previously served in that role during the Obama administration and briefly during the Trump administration from 2014 to 2017. Prior to his appointment, Luger was a partner in the Minneapolis office of Jones Day from 2017–2022. Luger has also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, from 1989 to 1992,  and for the District of Minnesota from 1992 to 1995, where he prosecuted a wide variety of narcotics and violent crimes, as well as complex white collar frauds. In 1995, Luger joined the law firm of Greene Espel in Minneapolis, where he was a partner until 2014. Luger earned a Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. 

Gary Restaino 

The Senate confirmed Gary Restaino as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona in November 2021. From 1991 to 1993, Restaino served in Paraguay with the Peace Corps. From 1996 to 1999, he provided legal services to seasonal farm workers as a lawyer with Community Legal Services. From 1999 to 2003, he served as a civil rights lawyer in the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. He then served as a trial attorney in the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. Restaino joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona in 2003. He was nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney in October 2021. Restaino earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College in 1990 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1996. 

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Cole Finegan 

The Senate confirmed Cole Finegan as U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado in  November 2021. From 1991 to 1993, Finegan served both as Chief Legal Counsel and  Director of Policy and Initiatives for Colorado Governor Roy Romer. From 1993 to 2003,  Finegan was a partner for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Denver office. Finegan  joined Hogan Lovells (then Hogan & Hartson) in 2007 as a partner. Finegan acted as an  adviser to Governor Hickenlooper and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Finegan attended  the University of Notre Dame from 1974 to 1978, earning a degree in English. Finegan earned a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 1986. 

Matthew Graves 

The Senate confirmed Matthew Graves as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia in October 2021. After graduating law school, Graves began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Richard W. Roberts of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. From 2002 to 2007, he was an associate at WilmerHale. From 2007 to 2016, Graves worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, where he served in the office’s fraud and public corruption section, ultimately serving as the acting chief of the section. Since 2016, he has been a partner at DLA Piper. Graves earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington and Lee University in 1998 and a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 2001. 

 

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