On Friday, the first Black US Attorney for the Southern District of New York was sworn into office in a ceremony at the Harlem Armory.
Damian Williams, 41, made history at his ceremonial swearing-in and will oversee some of the most high-profile cases in his role. In fact, he inherited the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell and the investigation into Rudy Giuliani.
“You know, and I know, that moments like this don’t just happen like that,” Williams said, snapping his fingers. “The road here has been paved, step by step, by generations of people, of all colors and nationalities.”
He added: “I owe it to the people who paved this path to do my job with excellence.”
He said he would prioritize “civil rights enforcement,” among other issues, and announced a new civil rights unit.
“White supremacist groups are on the march. Anti-Semitism is on the march. Anti-Asian bias is on the march. Abuse of the most vulnerable in our society is on the march,” he said. “So I am proud to announce today that I have created a brand new civil rights unit in the criminal division of my office.”
Willaims said he understands “we are living in troubled times” currently. The new unit will build on work an existing team has already carried out for decades.
Prior to his confirmation as United States Attorney, Mr. Williams served as Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force in the Southern District of New York.
Senator Chuck Schumer, who recommended Williams for the position, and Attorney General Merrick Garland attended the swearing-in. The ceremony was also attended by former US Attorney General Eric Holder and former Governor David Paterson. Some of Williams’ predecessors, including Preet Bharara and Geoffrey Berman, were also on hand.