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Biden U.S. Attorney Pick Is $4 Million-a-Year Lawyer (Corrected)

Aug. 31, 2021, 8:12 PM; Updated: Sept. 1, 2021, 6:28 PM

Breon Peace, President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. attorney in New York, earns just over $4 million a year through his Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partnership, a federal disclosure form shows.

As a white collar defender and litigator he has represented companies including Morgan Stanley, PwC, American Airlines Group Inc., and HSBC Bank, according to his Office of Government Ethics disclosure form.

If confirmed, Peace would take over for the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Jacquelyn Kasulis. Her predecessor in the interim position, Mark Lesko, was involved in the successful prosecution of Keith Raniere, leader of a cult called Nxivm, on sex trafficking charges.

Biden selected Peace Aug. 10 as one of several Black nominees for top prosecutor posts so far— more than President Donald Trump chose during his whole term. The Eastern District covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island.

Peace has been a partner with Cleary Gottlieb since 2007, and he has also worked several shorter stints as an associate with the firm, interrupted by jobs as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District. He’s also worked as a professor with the New York University School of Law, according to the White House nomination announcement.

He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Biden has nominated at least eight Black U.S. attorney contenders so far, and he is considering another eight Black candidates for different posts, according to an Aug. 27 letter by the Department of Justice Association of Black Attorneys. The letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and other DOJ and White House officials expressed “strong support” for the consideration of a diverse list of candidates and nominees.

“These appointments are important to fulfill the commitment to fair representation and diversity and inclusion at all levels of the Department,” wrote the chair of the group’s executive council, Oneshia Herring.

There are 93 U.S. attorney offices throughout the United States, including in Puerto Rico, Guam, and other U.S. territories.

(Corrected to note that Peace, if confirmed, will succeed interim U.S. attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at sskolnik@bloomberglaw.com

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

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