Published On: Sun, Oct 28th, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recognizes U.S. Attorney’s Office with Awards for work on National Security cases

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recognized two teams from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and their partners in the FBI for outstanding achievements in national security cases involving attacks on American citizens abroad.

The team members were among 244 Justice Department employees and 36 individuals outside the Department to receive Attorney General Awards on October 24, 2018, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The 66th annual ceremony recognized employees and other individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievements, leadership, and service to the Department of Justice and the American people.

Jeff Sessions

“Service in the Department of Justice is more than a normal job; it is a calling to the highest standards of professionalism,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “That is true for all of the 115,000 Department of Justice employees.  But it is especially true for these award winners. And so I want to thank them and their families for their exemplary service to this Department and to the American people. They have made this Department proud.”

“These awards reflect the unwavering commitment of our office to achieving justice,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “The honorees showed extraordinary skill and perseverance in investigating horrific crimes against Americans that occurred thousands of miles away and then bringing those responsible for the attacks to face charges in our courtrooms. Their achievements in these cases inspire all of us in our work.”

The Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the second-highest award for employee performance, was awarded to a team from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the FBI that worked on the investigation and prosecution of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a Libyan militia leader who played a key role in the deadly attack on the U.S. Mission and Central Intelligence Agency Annex in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11-12, 2012, which killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.

The honorees from the U.S. Attorney’s Office were Assistant U.S. Attorneys John D. Crabb, Jr., Michael C. DiLorenzo, and Kenneth C. Kohl; Victim/Witness Advocate Yvonne Bryant; former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julieanne Himelstein, David Mudd, and Opher Shweiki; and former Paralegal Specialist Rayneisha Booth.

The John Marshall Award, the Department’s highest award for attorneys for contributions and excellence in specialized areas of legal performance, was awarded for participation in litigation resulting in the successful prosecution of violent members of the Los Zetas Mexican cartel who brutally murdered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Special Agent Jaime Zapata and wounded ICE HSI Special Agent Victor Avila on Feb. 15, 2011, in Mexico.

Honorees from the U.S. Attorney’s Office were Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Ballantine, Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez, and Karen Seifert.

The program honored individuals across the Justice Department and federal, state, local, and tribal partners for their selfless efforts protecting national security and civil rights, addressing rising violent crime in our communities, and investigating and prosecuting gangs and those trafficking in dangerous narcotics and human beings.  The awards also honored the work of civil and environmental litigation, which enforces the rule of law and upholds our Constitution. They also recognized employees whose ideas and efforts save taxpayer dollars and help our government operate more effectively and efficiently, among other contributions to public safety and good governance.

The ceremony included an award for exceptional heroism to U.S. Marshal Senior Inspector Basilio S. Perez, Jr., for his courageous actions to protect and aid victims of the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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