United States Attorney for the District of Columbia

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United States Attorney for the District of Columbia
Channing D. Phillips.jpg
Channing D. Phillips

since March 3, 2021
United States Department of Justice
Reports toThe Attorney General
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent

The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia (USADC) is the United States Attorney responsible for representing the federal government in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia has two divisions, the Civil Division and the Criminal Division. The Civil Division is responsible for representing federal agencies in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and in appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Unlike the states, District of Columbia is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress. By statute, the U.S. Attorney is responsible for prosecuting both federal crimes and all serious crimes committed by adults in the District of Columbia. Therefore, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia serves as both the federal prosecutor (as in the other 92 U.S. Attorneys' offices) and as the local district attorney. The Attorney General of the District of Columbia, who is elected by the people of the District, handles local civil litigation and minor infractions, comparable with a City Attorney.

In January 2020, Attorney General William Barr named Timothy Shea, one of his counselors at the Department of Justice, as the interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.[1] Shea replaced U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, who was nominated in January 2020 to become the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes; her nomination was withdrawn in February 2020 and she resigned from the Trump administration.[2] Liu had been nominated for by Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Attorney in September 2017,[3] replacing acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips.[4]

After Attorney General Barr appointed acting USADC Shea to be acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Barr appointed Michael R. Sherwin to replace Shea as acting USADC.[5]

On May 18 2020, the White House announced the President's intention to nominate U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Justin Herdman to be U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia on a permanent basis.[6][7]

List of U.S. Attorneys for the District of Columbia[edit]


  1. ^ "Attorney General William P. Barr names Timothy Shea, one of his counselors, as the District's interim U.S. Attorney". The Washington Post. January 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "Jessie Liu, ex-U.S. attorney who oversaw Roger Stone case, resigns from Trump administration". NBC News. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  3. ^ "PN613 — Jessie K. Liu — Department of Justice". congress.gov. United States Congress. September 14, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  4. ^ U.S. Attorneys: District of Columbia on DOJ's U.S. Attorney's Office – District of Columbia website.
  5. ^ Hsu, Spencer S.; Alexander, Keith L. (May 18, 2020). "Barr-installed top DOJ aide, prosecutor of Trump's Mar-a-Lago trespasser, to serve as acting U.S. attorney in Washington". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Individuals to Key Administration Posts". whitehouse.gov (Press release). May 18, 2020. Retrieved May 19, 2020 – via National Archives.
  7. ^ Oprysko, Caitlin (May 18, 2020). "Trump taps U.S. attorney in Cleveland to be the next prosecutor for D.C." POLITICO. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  8. ^ District of Columbia Superior Court bio of Ramsey Johnson
  9. ^ Female Assistant Is Named Interim Prosecutor for D.C., Washington Post, July 19, 1997
  10. ^ Wilma A. Lewis ’81 nominated to be assistant secretary for Land and Mineral Management, Harvard Law Today, May 12, 2009
  11. ^ United States Attorney Taylor announces resignation
  12. ^ Taylor Withdraws US Attorney Confirmation Bid after Losing Norton Support
  13. ^ Acting United States Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr. to Step Down