Mr. Williams, a Harvard University and Yale Law School graduate, would take over an office that had undergone four turbulent years under the Trump administration, including two U.S. attorneys, Preet Bharara and Geoffrey S. Berman, who were dismissed.
Mr. Trump’s employees persecuted by the Southern District of New York included Stephen K. Bannon, a former chief strategist for Mr. Trump, and Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer. In 2018, the office obtained a guilty plea from Mr. Cohen for campaign finance violations, including a charge resulting from a $ 130,000 hush payment to pornstar Stormy Daniels.
The office is currently investigating whether Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump’s personal attorneys and a former U.S. attorney in Manhattan, has violated lobbying laws in its dealings with Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing.
Mr. Williams, who served for Mr. Biden’s Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, is likely to oversee key trials of Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime companion, who was accused of assisting him with minors’ recruitment and sexual abuse; and Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek indicted in 2017 in a truck attack that killed eight people on a bike path in Manhattan. The government has announced that it will seek the death penalty if convicted. Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Saipov have both pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Williams has experience investigating politically sensitive cases. In 2018, he helped obtain a corruption charge conviction from Sheldon Silver, former Democratic spokesman for the New York State Assembly, after a previous conviction was overturned on appeal. Mr. Silver is serving a seven-year prison sentence.
If confirmed, Mr Peace would oversee an office that secured the 2019 conviction of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord named El Chapo.
In Virginia, Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, recommended Ms. Aber to oversee the Eastern District office. The office has prosecuted high profile cases of government data leakage, including that of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, and Chelsea Manning, former Army intelligence analyst, convicted in 2013 of providing archives of classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks .
Mr. Kavanaugh, the election of Mr. Biden to lead the Western District of Virginia, has a background in domestic extremism that Mr. Biden has identified as a priority in the fight. Mr. Kavanaugh helped lead the Department of Justice’s investigation into the 2017 white supremacy riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, at one of the rallies.