One week after being sworn in as U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, William McSwain has put together the executive team that will lead the region’s federal prosecutors, his office announced Thursday.
McSwain, a former Drinker Biddle & Reath partner who was confirmed by the Senate on March 20, selected four veteran prosecutors for roles on the team, including former Acting U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen and assistant U.S. attorneys Jennifer Arbittier Williams, Denise Wolf and Gregory David, according to an official statement.
“We have an amazing group of dedicated public servants in this office,” McSwain said. “I’m excited about our new leadership team. I look forward to working with them and supporting them in every way possible.”
McSwain named Williams to be his first assistant. Williams is currently the office’s chief of national security and cybercrime and successfully prosecuted the first case involving Colleen LaRose, known as ”Jihad Jane,” who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for terrorism-related crimes.
“It will be an honor to serve as first assistant,” said Williams in Thursday’s statement. “After serving for 16 years as a prosecutor in this office, I look forward to bringing my experience in fighting terrorism and cybercrime to a new leadership role.”
Lappen, who has been running the office since former U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger’s departure following President Donald Trump’s election, has been named deputy U.S. attorney.
Lappen supervised the Criminal, Civil, and Administrative divisions of the office from 2010 to 2016. He has been in the office for over 20 years and has prosecuted cases including white-collar crime, corruption, child exploitation, violent crime, and narcotics distribution.
“This office has a history of success and stability,” Lappen said. “I’m looking forward to working closely with the U.S. attorney in maintaining our culture of excellence.”
McSwain promoted Wolf to Criminal Division chief. Since 2003, Wolf has worked with white-collar and economic crimes in the Criminal Division, along with the firearms and corruption units. In 2014 she worked on the prosecution of five Philadelphia Traffic Court judges and court administrators for ticket-fixing.
“It’s very humbling to be named chief of the Criminal Division, and I am looking forward to the challenge,” Wolf said. “I’ll be working with some of the most talented prosecutors in the country.”
Lastly, McSwain named David chief of the Civil Division. David has worked in the division since 2010, including on a multidistrict False Claims Act investigation that led to a $150 million settlement with the Amedisys home health care company.
David will be in charge of all civil matters, including affirmative civil enforcement actions and defense of the federal government in civil litigation.
“This is one of the most successful and trailblazing civil divisions in the country,” David said. “I look forward to working with and leading a deep bench of talented assistant U.S. attorneys.”
Donald Trump announced McSwain as his nominee for the Eastern District in December. The Legal first reported in November 2016, days after Trump’s election, that McSwain was in the running for the top federal prosecutor position, based in Philadelphia.
McSwain focuses his practice at Drinker Biddle on white-collar criminal defense. His representation of Chester County Magisterial District Judge Mark Bruno during the 2014 Philadelphia Traffic Court ticket-fixing trial resulted in a total acquittal for Bruno.
As an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia from 2003 until he joined Drinker Biddle in 2006, McSwain specialized in matters dealing with the U.S. Department of Defense.