A former federal prosecutor who tried more than 20 jury cases involving guns, gangs, drugs and other violent crimes was sworn in Wednesday as the new U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, the Department of Justice announced.
John R. Lausch, Jr., was administered the oath of office after President Donald Trump signed his commission by U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo.
“I am excited to return to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago today,” Lausch, a 47-year-old Joliet native, said. “I am humbled and honored to lead such a tremendous team of attorneys and staff. 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.”
Joel R. Levin, who for the past eight months served as Acting United States Attorney, will return to his role as the First Assistant United States Attorney, the DOJ said in a statement.
As an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1999-2010, Lausch tried dozens of jury cases involving racketeering, fraud, narcotics, extortion, firearms and other offenses, the DOJ said. From 2005-2010, Lausch served as deputy chief in the Narcotics & Gangs Section, overseeing criminal prosecutions of drug trafficking organizations and street gangs. He also served as the office's Violent Crime Coordinator, leading the district’s Anti-Gang and Project Safe Neighborhoods programs. He was twice awarded a Department of Justice Director's Award for Superior Performance, according to the DOJ.
From 2010 until his appointment as U.S. attorney, Lausch worked in private law practice in Chicago.
He earned his law degree in 1996 from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, and earned his bachelor’s degree in General Studies, with a concentration in government, in 1992 from Harvard University.
Lausch's appointment follows the resignation of Zachary Fardon, who stepped down as the district’s U.S. attorney last March after Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanded the resignation all U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama.
“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago,” Fardon said in a statement at the time. “I want to thank all of the talented men and women of the Office for their hard work and dedicated public service during my term.”
Veteran prosecutor Joel Levin stepped in as acting U.S. attorney after Fardon’s resignation.