Pennsylvania Middle District Candidates Emerge
By Andrew Ramonas | September 18, 2022 3:12 pm

A former federal prosecutor and an ex-public defender have emerged as possible candidates to be the next Middle District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney, The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., reported today.

Gerard Karam (Mazzoni & Karam)

Gerard Karam (Mazzoni & Karam)

Peter J. Smith, an ex-Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Gerard Karam, former chief public defender for Lackawanna County, Pa., are being considered for the post, “several legal sources” told the newspaper. A screening panel — created by Democratic Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter — started interviewing U.S. Attorney candidates for the Eastern, Middle and Western districts in July. Casey told The Times-Tribune in Scranton that he and Specter will make their recommendations to President Obama soon.

Smith appears to be the leading candidate for the post, according to The Times-Tribune. He has close ties to Casey, having worked for Casey when he was Pennsylvania’s treasurer and auditor general. Smith was also inspector general for Casey’s father, Bob Casey Sr., when he was Pennsylvania governor.

Karam is also a strong contender for the position, according to The Times Leader. He is a partner at Scranton law firm Mazzoni & Karam.

Dennis Pfannenschmidt (DOJ)

Dennis Pfannenschmidt (DOJ)

We previously reported that Middle District interim U.S. Attorney Dennis Pfannenschmidt was not looking for a permanent appointment. He replaced Martin C. Carlson, a Bush administration appointee who stepped down last month to become a U.S. magistrate judge in Harrisburg, Pa.

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One Comment

  1. This is a big decision for Bob Casey, it could make or brake his re-election chances. There are a bunch of corruption probes going in this district, including the infamous Luzerne County “Kids for Cash” scandal.

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