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Pillsbury Hires Justice Official Who Helped Block Rosen Ouster

Jan. 26, 2021, 8:42 PM

Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Patrick Hovakimian, who reportedly convened senior Justice Department officials earlier this month to prevent the ouster of then Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, has moved to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

Pillsbury confirmed Tuesday that Hovakimian is now a partner in its litigation practice in its Washington office.

Pillsbury’s ambitions to grow and build a white collar practice with established practitioners was an opportunity Hovakimian said he couldn’t pass up.

“Pillsbury’s reputation precedes itself as a place where they provide results for clients,” he said in an interview. “It was just very clear from the beginning for me that as I figured out where to transition back into private practice that it was just unbeatable.”

Hovakimian was chief of staff to then-Deputy Attorney General Rosen, advising him and Attorney General Bill Barr on Justice Department operations, policies, and cases. Rosen, former senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis, became acting attorney general following Barr’s December 2020 resignation.

According to a Jan. 23 report by the New York Times, Hovakimian helped prevent Rosen’s firing by President Trump. The acting attorney general, the Times said, had refused to send a letter to Georgia lawmakers informing them of a voter fraud investigation in the state.

Hovakimian and Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, along with other top deputies, pulled together senior Justice leaders on a call, saying Rosen’s job was in jeopardy and that if he was fired, they would resign. The senior leaders agreed that they would do the same, prompting Trump to back down, the Times reported.

“Acting Attorney General Rosen stood up for justice,” said Hovakimian, declining to comment further on the Times report. “I was proud to be at the department and serve under him.”

Strengthening Pillsbury’s white-collar and cross border investigations capabilities is central to the firm’s practice growth, Deborah Baum, leader of Pillsbury’s litigation practice, said in a statement.

“Patrick will be able to apply his significant enforcement experience in the U.S. and around the globe in a variety of important areas, including FCPA and cross-border crimes generally, in addition to illicit finance, cryptocurrency, organized crime, computer intrusions and data breaches,” she added.

A former Latham & Watkins associate, Hovakimian began his government career in 2014 as assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of California, where he prosecuted public corruption and white collar crime and was co-counsel in the “Fat Leonard” military bribery scandal.

In 2017 he became senior counsel to then-Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, who now serves as executive vice president of global corporate governance, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary at Walmart.

Hovakimian from October 2018 until May 2019 served as the Justice Department’s director of counter transnational organized crime, where he coordinated department policy and worked with the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

He was also part-time commissioner of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.

In 2020, Hovakimian was nominated to serve as the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence though the Senate didn’t take action on the nomination.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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