Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
For 18 years, Mary Pat Brown has helped put away drug dealers and corrupt public officials as a prosecutor and supervisor at the the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Later this month, the executive assistant U.S. attorney for operations will run the office’s criminal division, which oversees all criminal cases prosecuted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The slot was vacated when Stevan Bunnell, who led the division for three years, decided to head into private practice at O’Melveny & Myers. Brown sat down with Legal Times Joe Palazzolo last week to discuss her upcoming move.
LT: Do you plan on taking the division in a different direction than that of your predecessor? Brown: Oh heavens no. Steve Bunnell and I have known each other for years. He and I were the chief and deputy chief, respectively, of the public corruption unit, one of the most fun times I’ve had in my career. He and I see eye to eye pretty much on just about everything. I’m sad to see him go. He’s a good friend.
LT: What are your goals for the division? Brown: To continue to attract what I think are the cream of the crop of some of lawyers both inside the office and people who apply to the office.
LT: Before you moved into your first supervisory position, you were a longtime prosecutor and an appellate advocate. Which types of cases were you drawn to? Brown: I really enjoyed building narcotics conspiracy cases that I worked on in district court. It’s very satisfying to work for months with wiretaps and pen registers and FBI agents and [Metropolitan Police Department] detectives and officers, pulling together a big case and seeing it all come to fruition. I love doing the trial work.
LT: When was the last time you tried a case? Brown: [The] last time I tried something was 10 years ago. The last time I argued something in D.C. Circuit was last October. I volunteered when our appellate division had a couple people out. It was a very pinheaded appellate issue. I loved it.
LT: Were you victorious? Brown: Absolutely. Not to say I haven’t lost plenty.
LT: Can you talk about some of the big cases — recent and ongoing — that your division is working on? Brown: [The conspiracy conviction of FARC official Simon] Trinidad was a major victory for the United States, I think, in the battle on terrorism, so we’re very proud of that. We have a number of public corruption things that we’re looking at, but nothing that I can tell you about right now. So, stay tuned.
LT: When Bunnell leaves, you’ll shift into his spot, but you’ll also remain the executive assistant U.S. attorney for operations. Aren’t those positions usually staffed discreetly? Brown: You kind of have portfolio of whatever the U.S. attorney wants you to do. In this particular portfolio under Ken Wainstein, who hired me for this job, one of my duties was to work on a daily basis with the criminal division, so when [interim U.S. Attorney Jeff Taylor] came in, I often, along with Steve Bunnell, would be in advising him about what was happening in the cases. You’ll have to ask the U.S. attorney why he picked me to do both of these things, but when Stevan announced he was leaving, I think it may have seemed like a natural fit. We’ll see how long I can take it.
LT: What problems will you be inheriting when you take over later this month? Brown: Frankly, one of the biggest challenges for me right now in the criminal division is support staff, because a lot of support staff can make more money in the private sector. It goes in waves — it’s not a big budget-crunch thing. People come, people go, and you have to expect that.
LT: You’ve served eight U.S. attorneys in your career. Is it hard to build momentum, knowing that Mr. Taylor is an interim appointee? Brown: It doesn’t really make a difference to us. It might make a difference to someone in the outside world, we’re just still doing our jobs. Everyday people get arrested — which is not to say U.S. attorneys don’t wield influence over the office, because they have different priorities. Policies can come and policies can go. You can focus on RICO conspiracies one day and focus on child pornography another, but there will always be someone who wants to do that work and who is dedicated to doing it well.
Working Lunch appears every other week in Legal Times .

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.