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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

New U.S. Attorney Announces Office Leadership Changes

            SALT LAKE CITY – United States Attorney John W. Huber, who became U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah in mid-June after being nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, has announced his new office leadership team. The changes are effective immediately.

            “The attorneys I have appointed to leadership positions in the office bring experience and sound judgment to their new responsibilities.  They live in Utah neighborhoods and are committed to working with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to make communities safe for everyone,” Huber said.

            “These changes will have immediate impact.  For example, I have appointed veteran prosecutor Rob Lund as the new chief of our White Collar Section.  For the past 10 years, drug cartel members have been looking over their shoulders because of Lund’s work in fighting narcotics traffickers.  Now Ponzi scheme and white collar fraudsters in our state will do the same because of Lund’s dedication to bringing offenders to justice,” Huber said.

            Diana Hagen, who joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2001 and has been chief of the Appellate Section since 2006, will be First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office.  This is the top Assistant U.S. Attorney position in the office. Hagen has briefed hundreds of federal appeals and has personally argued more than 70 cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was a member of the trial team that prosecuted Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee for the kidnaping of Elizabeth Smart.  She also has been active in local and federal bar associations and is the president-elect of Women Lawyers of Utah.

            Andrew Choate will be Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office.  Choate joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2010 and became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in June 2014.  Prior to his new appointment, Choate worked in the office’s National Security Section as chief of the Immigration Crimes Unit and deputy section chief.  He has been involved in the prosecution of several immigration fraud, national security, and domestic terrorism cases. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he worked as Assistant Chief Counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Salt Lake City.

            Robert Lunnen has been named chief of the Criminal Division in the office.  The Criminal Division is one of three divisions in the office. Lunnen joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2002 after working in the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section at the U.S. Department of Justice.  As a part of that position, Lunnen served for three years as the Judicial Attaché for DOJ in Bogota, Columbia.  Lunnen later served for more than three years as the Judicial Attaché in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was the senior DOJ official in Afghanistan, directing the Department’s Rule of Law reform program.

            David Backman, who has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 13 years, will be deputy chief of the Criminal Division.  He previously worked in the office’s Violent Crime Section and also served as Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office.  Backman clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson prior to joining the office.

            Jared Bennett will continue as chief of the Civil Division in the office and Dan Price will continue as deputy chief of that division.

            Karin Fojtik, who has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office since 2004, will be chief of the Violent Crime Section.  Fojtik clerked for former U.S. District Court Judge Paul Cassell. She also was an Assistant Utah Attorney General and an assistant prosecutor in Salt Lake City and Sandy.  Drew Yeates, who has been in the office for more than seven years, will be the deputy chief of the Violent Crime Section.  Yeates was a deputy district attorney and an assistant city prosecutor in Utah prior to joining the office. He also has been Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

            Robert Lund will be moving from chief of the Narcotics Section and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) in the office, a position he has had since 2007, to chief of the White Collar Section.  Lund joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2001 after working as a state prosecutor and private attorney. Lund is a judge advocate in the Army National Guard and teaches trial advocacy at the University of Utah law school.

            Taking over as chief of the Narcotics Section and OCDETF will be Vernon Stejskal.  Stejskal was an Assistant Utah Attorney General and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2012 and was assigned to the DEA Metro Narcotics Task Force.  He became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2012 and has been working in the Narcotics Section.

            Elizabethanne Stevens, who joined the Utah office in 1995 after working in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section at the Department of Justice, will be chief of the Appellate Section in the office. Stevens has been working in the Appellate Section since 2005.  Prior to joining the Appellate Section, Stevens was chief of the White Collar Section. Jeannette Swent, who has been an AUSA in the office since 1995 and has served as Civil Appellate Coordinator since 1997, will be deputy chief of the Appellate Section. Swent was chief of the office’s Civil Division for several years.

            Alicia H. Cook, who joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in October 2012 after working as a Deputy District Attorney for Salt Lake County for about 12 years, will continue as chief of the National Security Section in the office.  Richard Daynes, who has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for more than 13 years, has been appointed deputy chief of the National Security Section.  Daynes has been chief of the Identity Theft Unit in the office and co-chairs the Utah Identity Theft Task Force.  He was previously chief of the Asset Forfeiture Section in the office.

            Tyler Murray will continue as chief of the Asset Forfeiture Section in the office.  Murray joined the office in September 2008 as a member of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement section of the Civil Division where he focused on wildfire recovery litigation. He transferred to the Asset Forfeiture Section in 2012.

Component(s): 
Updated July 9, 2015