News and Press Releases

U.S. Attorney Names New Civil Chief, Deputy Chief of the Civil Division

ACE Supervisor Selected, Two Civil Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hired in Alexandria Division

October 19, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, announced that he has selected Lauren Wetzler to serve as chief and R. Joseph Sher to serve as deputy chief of the Civil Division for the District.

           “Lauren and Joe are the right fit to lead our Civil Division, which is the sixth largest in the nation and handles some of the most complex and interesting civil work in the country,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “I look forward to working with Lauren and Joe as we increase our emphasis on affirmative civil enforcement to combat financial, procurement, mortgage, health care and grant fraud cases.”

            Wetzler previously served as deputy chief and joined the Civil Division in Alexandria in 2005, where she has represented federal agencies and employees in a wide range of civil matters, including Administrative Procedure Act (APA), Bivens, employment discrimination, tort, immigration, FOIA, and Hyde Amendment cases. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Wetzler clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for the Honorable Barrington D. Parker Jr. She received her juris doctorate from Yale Law School and her bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard University.

            Sher was promoted to serve as the deputy chief for the Civil Division for the District. He has worked as a civil attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice since 1975, handling Bivens litigation and defending constitutional tort actions against the President, the Attorney General and other senior officials. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2005, where he has worked principally on defensive cases. Sher received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New York University and his juris doctorate from Michigan State University School of Law.

            MacBride also announced today that he has named Gerard Mene as the Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) supervisor for the Alexandria Division. Through the ACE program, the U.S. Attorney’s Office supervises investigations and pursues civil remedies to recover government money lost to fraud. This supervisory role is in addition to Mene’s previous selection as the coordinator for all of the Office’s ACE efforts throughout the District.

            Mene joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1995 and has led numerous False Claims Act investigations, including qui tam actions. Since 2008, Mene has coordinated the office’s health care fraud civil matters, and from 2006 to 2007, as part of a national effort, he helped to supervise the Office’s work in Federal immigration appeals before the Fourth, Second and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. From 1985 to 1995, Mene was a trial attorney for the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he litigated civil cases in United States district courts on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service. During this time he also taught at George Washington University. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Mene practiced law with Baskin & Sears, P.C. in Washington, D.C., and was an associate clerk for the Honorable Marion T. Bennett of what is now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Mene received his masters in tax law from Georgetown University Law Center, his juris doctorate from the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University, and his bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. Vincent College.

            In addition to the management changes, U.S. Attorney MacBride also announced that he has hired two new Assistant U.S. Attorneys – Anna Cross and Julie Edelstein – to handle civil litigation out of the Alexandria Division.

Cross is a former associate at Covington & Burling, LLP, in Washington, D.C., where she represented Guantanamo detainees in habeas litigation, pharmaceutical companies and e-commerce businesses in patent suits, and a U.S. manufacturer before the International Trade Commission, among others. Cook also practiced at D.C.-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, working on environmental, securities, and administrative matters. She clerked for the Honorable Diana E. Murphy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and she also served as an intern for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division’s appellate staff. Cross received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, where she was an executive editor of the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She received her bachelor’s degree in government from University of Maryland, College Park.

            Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Edelstein clerked for the Honorable Gerald B. Tjoflat of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and United States District Judge Joel H. Slomsky of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Edelstein also served as an associate at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr, LLP, in Washington, D.C., where she focused on national security, foreign corrupt practices act, and government contracts litigation for various clients. In addition, she interned with the Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives. Edelstein received her juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was a senior editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and founded a university-sponsored writing tutoring program for high school students. She received her bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University.



Return to Top

Community Outreach

Protect yourself from fraud, and report suspected cases of financial fraud to local law enforcement.


Megaupload - Release For Victim Notification


Talk to your kids about gangs and how to avoid them.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Stay Connected with Twitter
Justice 101