Robert Zauzmer named acting pardon attorney
By Mary Jacoby | February 3, 2022 2:52 pm

Robert A. Zauzmer, the chief of appeals in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has been named acting Pardon Attorney, the Justice Department announced today.

Robert Zauzmer

Zauzmer has been involved in sentencing reform, testifying many times before the  U.S. Sentencing Commission. He’s also worked closely in the past with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who served as top officials on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, a DOJ policy group that Zauzmer served on from 2012 to 2014.

“There were many occasions over the years where I saw these sentences of 20, 30 years, life imprisonment imposed on low-level offenders based on mandatory sentencing laws that troubled me,” Zauzmer told National Public Radio in an interview this week.

Yates said in a statement: “Bob’s long-standing commitment to criminal justice reform and his knack for devising and implementing the department’s sentencing reduction policies made him a natural choice to serve as Pardon Attorney.”

In an apparent coincidence, Politico today reported, based on newly released records from the Clinton Presidential Library, that former Rep. Ed Mezvinsky (D-Iowa) unsuccessfully sought a preemptive pardon from departing President Bill Clinton in 2001 as Mezvinsky faced a looming federal indictment.

Mezvinsky is now the father-in-law of Chelsea Clinton — while his prosecutor in the Ponzi scheme case was Zauzmer, who gave a sassy quote to the New York Times in 2007 about the relationship between the two families.

“When he thought it would help, he would call and say, ‘I’m spending the weekend with the Clintons,’” Zauzmer told the Times.

Zauzmer replaces Deborah Leff, who departed the Justice Department last month amid apparent tensions over staffing levels for President Barack Obama’s announced push to grant more pardons for offenders with excessively punitive sentences.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department recently posted a job listing for 16 attorney advisers in the Office of the Pardon Attorney, which is expected to more than double its staffing, the Daily Caller reported.

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