Three men of color vying for the highest federal law enforcement office in the Houston area – US lawyer

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Three Houston attorneys – all men of color – were selected to be interviewed Thursday in Austin for the highest police station in Southeast Texas.

A source with direct knowledge of the selection process identified the candidates. They are:

* Assistant US Attorney Sebastian Edwards, a former judge advocate and retired US military lieutenant colonel, who pursues national security and public corruption cases

* Assistant U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani, former Deputy Chief Counterterrorism Officer for the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, who handles high-profile terrorism cases in Houston

* Samuel J. Louis, a white-collar defense attorney who oversaw 11 attorneys in the government’s fraud division for more than two decades as a federal prosecutor.

The selection committee process is confidential and the source requested anonymity as the person is not authorized to speak publicly.

A volunteer group of about 30 attorneys selected candidates for four US attorney positions in the federal district courts in Texas. David Pritchard, a San Antonio litigator who chairs the advisory committee, said he expected the selections for the four positions would be submitted to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz on Friday night.

The non-partisan committee was put in place years ago to facilitate the process of selecting federal judges and U.S. lawyer positions, but the two Republican senators are under no obligation to follow the committee’s recommendation. Houston-area Congressional Democrats convened their own selection committees several months ago for the local US attorney, but Pritchard noted that their contribution to the White House likely carries less weight, since only the Senate has the weight. duty to advise and consent.

Former JAG with chops from helicopter who then went after child traffickers

Edwards, 49, of Pearland, was raised by parents who both worked for the Houston Police Department. Her mother was the first black woman to become deputy chief of police. His father continued to work as a commercial airline pilot.

After graduating from West Point, Edwards was stationed in Hawaii, where he flew Chinook helicopters and served as a flight and maintenance platoon leader for a helicopter company. Edwards studied law at the University of Virginia. He earned a master’s degree from Judge Advocate General School in Charlottesville.

His range of military honors stem from 22 years of service, including posts at Fort Hood and a combat deployment to Baghdad with the 1st Cavalry Division. He served as Staff Judge Advocate and Deputy Judge Advocate with the 101st Airborne in Fort Campbell, Ky., And Legislative Advisor to the Chief Legislative Liaison at the Pentagon during the Obama administration. Edwards also worked for the office of the judge advocate general; as senior defense counsel at Fort Bliss; and Crown counsel in Fort Hood and Iraq.

He has worked for the Department of Justice in Houston since 2016, prosecuting national security, organized crime and narcotics cases. A pending civil rights case involves an Arcola patrol officer accused of sexually assaulting two women during traffic stops. His human trafficking prosecutions include a man serving a 15-year sentence for trafficking a 12-year-old runaway on the Bissonnet Trail and an East Texas pimp serving a life sentence for the trafficking of five women, two of whom are minors.

Edwards and his wife Sunita have three children. The eldest is a police corporal in the US Marine Corps.

Commercial litigation that defended and then prosecuted suspected terrorists

Hamdani, 50, was born in Manchester, England to parents of Surat in the Indian state of Gujarat. When he was 10, his family moved to Euless, where his father drove a taxi and his mother worked in restaurant and retail and then for Delta Airlines. He was raised Muslim and married his childhood sweetheart who is Muslim, but later converted to Christianity in his 30s. The couple live in Houston and they have two children.

Hamdani received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Texas and a law degree from the University of Houston. He was a commercial litigator for two private firms before opening his own practice in 2005. The September 11 attacks and the backlash against Muslims both had a huge impact on his career trajectory. He began volunteering to represent Muslim and South Asian men who had been called in by the FBI.

Hamdani first worked as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Kentucky to prosecute drug, gun, fraud, and immigration cases. He then spent five years in Washington as an attorney general and deputy head of the counterterrorism unit, overseeing 12 prosecutors. His work has won top awards from the National Security Division and the Attorney General.

Hamdani has worked in the US Attorney’s Office in Houston since 2014, dealing with national security and public corruption cases. He has pursued several unrelated terrorism cases against young men accused of supporting ISIS and the case against two Houston police officers linked to a deadly raid who were accused of falsifying records.

Veteran fraud attorney turned white-collar advocate

Louis, 58, grew up in Port Arthur where his father was a factory operator for Texaco and his mother took care of the housework. He graduated in Business Administration from Lamar University at Beaumont and received his Law Degree from the Thurgood Marshall School at Texas Southern University.

He served two years for the Orange County District Attorney handling torts, bail forfeitures and felony prosecutions. Over the next 23 years, Louis pursued healthcare fraud, money laundering, theft, tax evasion, customs matters, and offenses relating to immigration, intellectual property, d guns and drug trafficking. Louis coordinated the healthcare fraud unit for 10 years. As Deputy Criminal Chief, he supervised 11 attorneys, served as senior counsel in 122 criminal cases, and conducted 60 jury trials.

He continued the trafficking of counterfeit medicines by foreign nationals and organized trainings on the fight against counterfeiting and the application of trademarks for the National Defense Center of the Ministry of Justice, the International Academy of Law Enforcement. law in Peru and the US Patent and Trademark Office. He has also led professional training programs in Southern Africa and advised 94 US law firms on corporate fraud, federal tort claims, bank fraud, management structure, ethics and on behalf of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys in Washington, DC

Since August 2014, Louis has been in private practice, first as a partner at Strasburger and Price, LLP and since early 2020 at Holland & Knight. Its corporate clients include a healthcare system, a bulk mail company, an aviation company, and an adult day care center. He has won cases for clients being investigated, fined or prosecuted for health care fraud and violations of corrupt practices abroad, U.S. food, drugs and cosmetics and the misrepresentation law.

Louis and his wife, who run a legal recruiting business, live in Pearland. They have a son in high school and another in college.

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