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Lausch sworn in as top federal prosecutor in Chicago

John Lausch, nominee for U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Illinois

John Lausch | Provided by Kirkland and Ellis

John Raymond Lausch Jr. on Wednesday was sworn in as Chicago’s new U.S. Attorney, officials said.

The Senate unanimously confirmed Lausch for the job on Nov. 9, eight months after former U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon resigned amid a Trump Administration purge of Obama-era prosecutors.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joel Levin took the reins in the meantime.

Now Lausch is returning to the office where he spent 11 years as an assistant U.S. attorney, prosecuting street gang members and corrupt cops. More recently, the Joliet native worked as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis.

“I am humbled and honored to lead such a tremendous team of attorneys and staff,” Lausch was quoted as saying in a press release. “I look forward to working with our law enforcement partners and continuing the office’s longstanding history of pursuing justice on behalf of the citizens of the Northern District of Illinois.”

Lausch will lead a team of attorneys who not only take on public corruption, organized crime, terrorism, drug-trafficking street gangs and cyber-crime, but who also handle civil litigation on behalf of the federal government.

But there is a clear clamoring for Lausch to help take on violent crime in Chicago. When President Donald Trump nominated Lausch for the role on Aug. 3, he cited, among other items, Lausch’s past work handling narcotic and gang cases.

And Trump has not minced words when it comes to Chicago crime.

When Lausch was a federal prosecutor, he served as the violent crime coordinator and led the Anti-Gang and Project Safe Neighborhoods programs. The highlights of his work in the courtroom included a take-down of 29 members of the Gangster Disciples and the trial of Black Disciple Albert Span, as well as the prosecution of 23 people — including two corrupt Chicago cops — for various crimes that included racketeering and drug conspiracy.

He has written about the use of federal statutes to attack street gangs, and he has instructed his colleagues in law enforcement on street gang, narcotic and police corruption prosecutions.

Lausch graduated Joliet Catholic High School in 1988. He headed to Harvard University where he was captain of the varsity football team, earning an undergraduate degree in 1992. He returned to Illinois to attend the Northwestern University School of Law, picking up a law degree in 1996.

Despite early political turbulence in the search for Chicago’s next U.S. attorney, Lausch’s nomination sailed through the Senate after the White House decided to work in advance with Illinois Democratic U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to find a candidate.