Biden Nominees for Federal Prosecutors Include First Black Women to Lead Their Districts

The nine nominees selected by President Joe Biden to run U.S. attorney's offices nationwide include attorneys in two North Carolina districts where they are slated to make history as the first Black women to lead those offices.

The nominations will run the federal prosecutors' offices in Hawaii, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Colorado, Ohio, Vermont and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the White House said Tuesday.

Sandra Hairston, the acting U.S. attorney in the Middle District of North Carolina, would be the first Black woman to serve as the federal prosecutor in her state. The same distinction would apply to Dena King, who is eyeing being U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. She has previously overseen the prosecution of violent crime and narcotics cases.

Additionally, Delia L. Smith would be the first Black woman to take the reins at the U.S. attorney's office in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Federal Prosecutor Nominees
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on COVID-19 during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP Photo

The Justice Department's 93 U.S. attorneys, who are responsible for federal criminal prosecutions in their respective districts, are central to the Biden administration's efforts to combat violent crime.

The candidates were "chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials in this field, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice," the White House said.

The announcement also means Biden has now nominated 25 people to serve as U.S. attorneys, positions that have been filled for months by acting U.S. attorneys.

The nominees include Clare Connors, who has served as the attorney general in Hawaii since 2019.

The White House is also nominating Zachary Cunha to be the U.S. attorney in Rhode Island, where he currently runs the office's civil division. Michael Easley Jr., a partner at the law firm McGuire Woods and son of former Democratic governor and state attorney general Mike Easley, is being tapped to run the office in the Eastern District of North Carolina, based in Raleigh.

Cole Finegan, managing partner of the law firm Hogan Lovells in Denver, is being put up for U.S. attorney in Colorado, and Nikolas Kerest, a longtime federal prosecutor in Vermont, is nominated to run the office there.

Kenneth Parker is being nominated for the Southern District of Ohio.