Trump considers Michigan candidates for U.S. attorney
Two former federal prosecutors are among the candidates the White House is considering for nomination as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, according to sources familiar with the selection process.
President Donald Trump is working to fill the high-profile position after Barbara McQuade resigned the post at his request in March. She had been appointed by President Barack Obama in January 2010.
Matthew Schneider serves as chief deputy to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, where he oversees the office’s active caseload and a staff of 500. He previously served as lead counsel representing Gov. Rick Snyder and the state of Michigan in the Detroit federal bankruptcy litigation.
Leonid Feller is a partner in the Chicago office of the firm Kirkland & Ellis, where he defends corporations and individuals in criminal, civil and regulatory cases, including representing Volkswagen AG in relation to its diesel scandal and General Motors for its ignition switch litigation.
The administration also is considering candidates for U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan. They include attorneys Victor Fitz and Adam Tountas, according to sources familiar with the candidates. Fitz has served as Cass County prosecutor since 2003 and is chairman of the Republicans’ 6th District committee. Tountas works at the firm Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge in Grand Rapids and former chair of the Ottawa County GOP.
The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to interview candidates as early as next week. The department and the White House declined to comment Tuesday, as did a spokeswoman for Schuette’s office.
Schneider, Feller and Fitz also declined to comment. Tountas couldn’t be reached.
The Eastern District of Michigan covers 34 counties and roughly 6 million people, with offices in Detroit, Flint and Bay City. Its staff consists of 115 attorneys.
Daniel L. Lemisch has served as the acting U.S. attorney for the district since the March 13 departure of McQuade.
Schneider previously worked as general counsel and chief of staff for the Michigan Supreme Court and as assistant general counsel in the White House budget office under President George W. Bush during his first term.
Schneider worked as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern Districtfrom 2003-11, where his caseload included anti-terrorism cases as well as public corruption and organized crime, street and motorcycle gangs.
He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2000 and from Michigan State University in 1996. He’s also an adjunct law professor at MSU.
“Matthew is incredibly experienced and very well-respected by all sides of the aisle,” said GOP consultant Stu Sandler, who praised Schneider but declined to say if he’s a candidate.
“He’s got broad, very practical experience.”
Feller worked for five years in the U.S attorney’s office in Detroit from 2006-11, where he prosecuted cases from white collar to violent crime, including securing a 227-year prison sentence against the leader of a crew of bank robbers known as the AK-47 Bandits, which stole more than $750,000 and shot a bank teller and police officer.
Feller graduated from the University of Michigan in 1996 and from Harvard Law School in 2000. He has a home in West Bloomfield and has lectured at UM Law since 2009. He clerked for the Judge David A. Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.