Former Enron prosecutor Leslie R. Caldwell is the frontrunner for the nomination to head the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, according to various reports.
Caldwell, a partner in the New York office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, led DOJ’s Enron Task Force from 2002 until 2004. In that position, she hired a young up-and-coming prosecutor named Kathryn Ruemmler for the task force. Ruemmler is now the White House counsel and the point-person overseeing President Barack Obama’s presidential nominations.
If nominated and confirmed by the Senate, Caldwell would replace Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who left earlier this year to return to Covington & Burling LLP. Mythili Raman, who served as Breuer’s chief of staff and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, has been the acting division chief during the interim.
Also believed to be in the mix to succeed Breuer are former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and former Fraud Section chief Denis McInerney, now a Deputy Assistant Attorney General overseeing the Fraud, Appellate Sections and the Capital Case Unit, among others.
The Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division leads a staff of nearly 600 attorneys charged with prosecuting fraud, public corruption, international gangs, money laundering and other major crimes out of Justice Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
At Morgan Lewis, Caldwell focuses on internal investigations and defense of companies and individuals accused by the government of involvement in white collar crime, SEC or other regulatory violations. She manages a team of 17 former prosecutors.
Until 2002, Caldwell served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, where she was chief of both the Criminal Division and the Securities Fraud Section. She was brought to the office in 1999 by then U.S. Attorney Robert Mueller.
Previously, Caldwell worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York.
Caldwell has done extensive pro bono work, including working with the Darfur Project, an advocacy training program for Sudanese human rights lawyers. She has also been the recipient of a number of awards for her work, including the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award for Trial of Litigation, the Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention and the Henry L. Stimson Medal, awarded by Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Caldwell graduated from George Washington University Law School and Pennsylvania State University.