Biden nominates top prosecutors, including one to oversee Jan. 6 riot cases

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday nominated a slate of eight people to serve as U.S. attorneys, including the top federal prosecutor who will oversee the Jan. 6 Capitol riots cases if he is confirmed, and a progressive prosecutor in Massachusetts.

Matthew Graves, a former federal prosecutor now with the corporate law firm DLA Piper, is Biden’s choice to run the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which has been overwhelmed with a flood of cases stemming from the riots.

Federal prosecutors have arrested more than 535 people on charges of taking part in the violence, in which followers of then-President Donald Trump fought police, smashed windows and sent members of Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence running for safety.

Graves earlier in his career served as a prosecutor in the same U.S. Attorney’s Office he would lead, securing a guilty plea from former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr for misusing campaign funds and investigating banks for sanctions violations.

Biden also nominated Rachael Rollins, a local prosecutor in Boston who is part of a growing national movement of “progressive prosecutors” who support efforts to eliminate racial disparities by rejecting the traditional “tough on crime” culture that has led to the disproportionate incarceration of Black men.

The nominations must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Rollins, who earlier in her career worked as a federal prosecutor, was elected in 2018 as the first Black woman to serve as the district attorney in Suffolk County, which covers Boston. She would be the first Black woman to serve as the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts.

Rollins campaigned on a promise to decline prosecution for some low-level crimes, and she had been vocal about the need for police reform even before the nationwide protests following the May killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Some other progressive district attorneys have also been under consideration to serve as U.S. attorneys.

Other nominees to serve as U.S. attorneys include Erek Barron for the District of Maryland, Nicholas Brown for the Western District of Washington, Clifford Johnson for the Northern District of Indiana, Zachary Myers for the Southern District of Indiana, Trini Ross for the Western District of New York and Vanessa Waldref for the Eastern District of Washington.