- The SEC’s top litigator is stepping down to become No. 2 at the DOJ office handling January 6 cases.
- Before joining the SEC, Bridget Fitzpatrick was a public corruption prosecutor in Washington, DC.
- The move reunites her with US attorney Matt Graves, who signed the indictment of Steve Bannon.
The Biden-appointed US attorney in Washington, DC, has recruited a top lawyer from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the second-ranking role in the federal prosecutor’s office handling the hundreds of cases stemming from the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Insider has learned.
Bridget Fitzpatrick, the SEC’s chief litigation counsel, is poised to leave the commission to become the top deputy to US attorney Matt Graves, according to multiple people familiar with her plans. For Fitzpatrick, the move marks a return to the US attorney’s office where she once specialized in public corruption prosecutions.
She is expected to start at the end of December or in early 2022 as the so-called first assistant US attorney under Graves, whose early tenure as the top federal prosecutor in Washington has been highlighted by the indictment of Trump ally Steve Bannon on contempt of Congress charges.
On Monday, the congressional committee investigating January 6 voted to recommend that the full House hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress, setting the stage for another possible referral for a Justice Department prosecution out of Graves’ office. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming also is suggesting DOJ should consider criminally charging former President Donald Trump with obstructing Congress for his role in the Capitol riot that halted lawmakers’ plans to certify the 2020 election results.
In their previous stints at the US attorney’s office, Graves and Fitzpatrick both worked in the fraud and public corruption unit — a team that reviews congressional referrals for prosecution and often brings cases against high-profile figures. Fitzpatrick once helped convict a sitting member of the District of Columbia’s city council on charges he embezzled funds earmarked for youth programs, and Graves was involved in the prosecution of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who pleaded guilty in 2013 to making lavish purchases and covering personal expenses with campaign contributions.
Fitzpatrick left the US attorney’s office in 2012 for the SEC at a time when the commission was seeking to bring in trial experience ahead of enforcement actions tied to the financial crisis. In her first year at the SEC, she won a court decision finding the former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre — the self-proclaimed “Fabulous Fab” who had become a symbol of Wall Street’s role in the financial meltdown — liable for fraud.
Matt Solomon, who once supervised Graves and Fitzpatrick as a senior official in the US attorney’s office, said the two established themselves as stars early in their careers as prosecutors.
“Both of them had incredible white collar instincts, and that’s what sets them apart. They just got white-collar in a way that a lot of prosecutors never do,” said Solomon, who preceded Fitzpatrick as the SEC’s chief litigation counsel and recruited her to the commission.
“And it’s not that white-collar is so much harder than homicide or harder than gang cases, which are incredibly difficult to investigate and prosecute and critically important in the District. But there’s a certain instinct for crimes that are a little grayer because they always involve proving what’s going on inside someone’s head as opposed to pulling a trigger or even having a readily identifiable victim.”