David A. O’Neil was appointed Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division on March 21, 2014.
As head of the Criminal Division, Mr. O’Neil oversees nearly 600 attorneys who prosecute federal criminal cases across the country and help develop the criminal law. He also works closely with the nation’s 93 United States Attorneys in connection with the investigation and prosecution of criminal matters in their districts.
Mr. O’Neil started his Department of Justice career as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, where he tried a number of cases, focusing on international investigations and fraud on the government and financial institutions. In 2009, he moved to the Solicitor General’s Office. There, Mr. O’Neil argued three cases in the Supreme Court, including a significant case on the required content of the Miranda warnings and a highly publicized suit involving the strip search of a middle school student. He also briefed the government’s defense in the Supreme Court of the convictions of Jeffrey Skilling arising from the Enron collapse and of Joseph Nacchio resulting from the $3 billion accounting fraud at Qwest Communications.
From 2009 to 2010, Mr. O’Neil served as Associate Deputy Attorney General, concentrating on criminal and national security matters. He helped to develop policies on questioning suspects in cross-border investigations and oversaw the department’s national security investigations and prosecutions.
A year later, Mr. O’Neil was promoted to Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General, the second-in-command at the Justice Department who supervises all of the department’s criminal and civil litigation. In that role, Mr. O’Neil has focused on criminal and white collar matters, as well as sensitive national security issues.
Before joining the department, Mr. O’Neil worked at the law firm of WilmerHale, where his practice involved white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and government-facing litigation. Mr. O’Neil clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Honorable Robert D. Sack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He earned his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School and his bachelor of arts from Princeton University.