Kim Foxx’s former ethics officer on track to become US attorney of Chicago

April Perry, former chief ethics officer to embattled Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, is on track to become the next U.S. attorney in Chicago after the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance her nomination on Thursday.

Perry, whose nomination was announced by President Joe Biden three months ago, will take over from former U.S. Attorney John Lausch, an appointee of former President Donald Trump. She was one of two finalists selected by a screening committee with the support of Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

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“We are pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced the nomination of April Perry to serve as the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois,” Durbin and Duckworth said in a statement released Thursday. “She was highly regarded by our screening committee and brings strong qualifications and a wealth of experience from her time in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and in the private sector to the position.”

Prior to her nomination for U.S. attorney, Perry served 12 years as a federal prosecutor in Chicago. Now, she will have the opportunity to take the helm of the criminal justice system in a city with rising crime rates and homelessness if her nomination is approved by the entire Senate.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago is one of the busiest in the nation, particularly as it handles everything from terrorism and gang conspiracies to financial fraud and political corruption. The office is made up of 300 employees, including about 130 prosecutors and more than two dozen attorneys who focus on civil cases, according to the Chicago Tribune.

For a time, Perry served as a coordinator for programs concentrating on violence against women, civil rights, and hate crimes. She served as chief ethics officer and chief deputy state attorney under Foxx from 2017 to 2019. However, she left Foxx’s administration after Foxx faced severe criticism and backlash for her dismissal of charges against disgraced actor Jussie Smollett.

Foxx, who is not seeking reelection, has been blasted for her perceived soft-on-crime approach in prosecuting, particularly for the way she prosecuted — or declined to prosecute — high-profile cases, such as a deadly shooting in October 2021 and the cases of Smollett and musician R. Kelly. She had been blasted by members of her own administration for changing the “philosophy” of the state’s attorney’s office.

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Perry’s nomination process could take several weeks, leaving Morris Pasqual to serve as acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in the meantime, in place of Lausch.

Lausch’s career was marked by several high-profile investigations. He was originally appointed to investigate classified documents found at Biden’s Delaware home and Washington, D.C., office, as well, before Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur as special counsel over the Justice Department’s investigation, according to WTTW.

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