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United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced today the appointments of James F. Lang as the Chief of the Criminal Division, John T. McNeil as the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and Nadine Pellegrini as the Chief of the Major Crimes Unit.  U.S. Attorney Ortiz also announced today that she has appointed James B. Farmer to the newly created position of Counsel to the U.S. Attorney, and that Mr. Farmer will also continue to serve as Chief of the Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.

“Each of these senior prosecutors brings a breadth and depth of experience critical to meeting the challenges of this new decade,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz.  “Each has an extraordinary record as a trial lawyer and a profound commitment to public service.  Through their work they have demonstrated an unfailing commitment to our constitutional values and the even-handed administration of justice.  The public should be proud to be represented by such extraordinary attorneys.”


Counsel to the United States Attorney

Mr. Farmer has been a federal prosecutor in Boston since 1985.  He has served as Criminal Chief of the U.S. Attorney's Office since December 1995 and served as United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from June 3, 2001 to September 19, 2001.  Since 2005, he has also served as Chief of the Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit of the office.  From 2001 to 2005, he served as Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force of the office.

Since January 2008, Mr. Farmer has also been working on a Washington-based investigation, publicly announced by then-Attorney General Mukasey, to determine whether a crime was committed in the CIA's destruction of recordings of interrogations of certain high value terrorism detainees.  Mr. Farmer is the longest-serving member, and a former Chair, of the Department's Criminal Chiefs' Working Group.  He teaches frequently on various topics at the Department's National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, and has lectured on national security prosecutions at the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Mr. Farmer has served as a member of the United States District Court's Criminal Rules Committee, both during the multi-year drafting of the present (1998) local rules for criminal cases, and also during a re-examination of those rules in 2002-2003.  He is a long-time member of the Criminal Law Section Steering Committee of the Boston Bar Association.  In 1995-1996, Mr. Farmer was named a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School.  He has twice received the Department of Justice's Director's Award, most recently in December 2009.

Before joining the Justice Department, Mr. Farmer was an associate at Goodwin, Procter & Hoar in Boston and, previously, a law clerk to the Honorable Constance Baker Motley, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.  From 1969 to 1972, Mr. Farmer served on active duty as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve.  Mr. Farmer is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School.


Chief, Criminal Division

Mr. Lang joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1993, serving as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Major Crimes Unit for nine years.  There he developed an expertise in prosecuting violent crimes, gang violence and firearms offenses, for which he received the Department of Justice’s Director's Award in 1997.  Mr. Lang tried many cases while in the Major Crimes Unit, including armored car robbery, arson, bank robbery, and extortion.  His notable trials have included the armed extortion prosecution in U.S. v. Derek Capozzi and the prosecution of a conspiracy to rob an armored car facility in U.S. v. Carmelo Merlino, et al.  He is also an accomplished appellate advocate having briefed and argued numerous cases before United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  In 2002, Mr. Lang was appointed as the Chief of the Major Crimes Unit, overseeing the work of the unit that covers the broadest subject matter spectrum of any unit within the criminal division.  There he trained and mentored many of the office’s most successful AUSAs.  In June 2009, Mr. Lang was appointed an Acting Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, overseeing major crimes, narcotics and organized crime cases.

Mr. Lang holds a bachelors degree from Cornell University, where he graduated with honors in 1978.  He received his law degree in 1985 from Boston University School of Law, from which he graduated magna cum laude.  He clerked for Associate Justice Paul J. Liacos at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.  He also served for nearly seven years as an Assistant District Attorney in Norfolk County, where he prosecuted many cases in the District and Superior Courts and, for much of his tenure, was a member of that office’s appellate unit.


Deputy Chief, Criminal Division

Mr. McNeil has served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office since 1999.  Since 2004, he has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit and has been the lead prosecutor in a number of notable cases, including the prosecutions of former State Senator Dianne Wilkerson, Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, former Massachusetts Speaker of the House Thomas Finneran, former Boston Police Officers Roberto Pulido, Nelson Carrasquillo, Carlos Pizarro, Edgardo Rodriguez and Jose Ortiz, and former Malden Narcotics Detective David Jordan.  Mr. McNeil also brought the first federal investigation of clergy sexual abuse of children, and reached the first criminal settlement in the nation with a Catholic diocese in In re Archdiocese of Boston.  From 1999 to 2004, Mr. McNeil served in the Major Crimes Unit, prosecuting a wide range of cases, including carjacking, child exploitation, extortion, parental kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, arson, and street gang firearms/narcotics cases.  He is the recipient of the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award (2004) and a District of Massachusetts Victim’s Rights award.  He has tried numerous federal cases and argued several cases before the First Circuit Court of Appeals.  Since June 2009, Mr. McNeil has served as an Acting Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division overseeing white collar crime cases.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. McNeil served for nearly a decade at the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Boston.  There he investigated and prosecuted complex environmental crimes throughout New England and also represented the United States in numerous civil environmental enforcement matters.  While at EPA, Mr. McNeil also served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Districts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. His litigation career started at the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, where he tried numerous cases as an Assistant District Attorney from 1989-1990.

Mr. McNeil is a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School (1987).  He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (1982), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kapp.  Mr. McNeil served as law clerk on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to Associate Justice Francis P. O’Connor.  Mr. McNeil is also a Lecturer in Law at the Boston University School of Law.


Chief, Major Crimes Unit

Ms. Pellegrini joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1991, serving as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Major Crimes Unit.  In 2000, she was appointed Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Unit and has served as Acting Chief of that unit since June 2009.  As an AUSA, Ms. Pellegrini developed an expertise in prosecuting wildlife protection cases and is a national leader in that field.  She has also prosecuted a wide range of other matters including immigration cases, identity theft, false statement, Social Security fraud, postal theft, and child exploitation, among others.  She has tried numerous federal cases and has argued many appeals before the First Circuit.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Pellegrini was the Chief of Special Prosecutions for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.  There she prosecuted tax, public corruption and environmental cases.  From 1985 to 1990 she was the Chief of the Violent Felony Unit for the Monroe County District Attorney in Rochester, New York.

Ms. Pellegrini is an honors graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  She received her J.D. from the Albany Law School and a masters of science degree from the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Center for Animals and Public Policy.  She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Boston College School of Law and a Clinical Instructor at the Tufts Cummings School.

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