Chris Kavanaugh named U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:22 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A federal prosecutor working with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Charlottesville just got a major promotion.

Christopher Kavanaugh is the newly named U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. He was nominated for the new role by President Joe Biden in August and was sworn in last week. He earned his law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Kavanaugh will now oversee federal criminal investigations and prosecutions in 49 counties in Western Virginia, reaching from Winchester to Big Stone Gap.

As former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Charlottesville, Kavanaugh directed a hate crimes prosecution of James Fields following the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally in 2017. He says his top priorities involve prosecutions regarding civil rights cases, domestic terrorism and hate crimes.

“One thing I want to leave everybody with is, the United States Attorneys Office in the Western District of Virginia, as a representative of the Department of Justice, that we are transparent and that we are seeking to do exactly that: provide justice,” Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh says his office is also concerned about an uptick in violent crimes in the district.

“It’s happening throughout the nation, but our district is no exception, including Roanoke, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Danville. And that’s one of the things that this office is very much looking at in going forward, in trying to leverage federal charges where we have the worst offenders in these communities,” Kavanaugh said. “And to the extent that we can work with our state and local partners, and reach out to them to form those relationships and decide which cases are appropriate for state court and which cases are appropriate for federal court. They can count on us doing so.”

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