New U.S. Attorney John Lausch lays out priorities

CHICAGO -- Two months after taking the job, new U.S. Attorney John Lausch took to the podium for his first press conference.

He’s new to the job, but not new to the office, having worked as an assistant U.S. attorney before.

At Wednesday’s press conference, he quickly laying out his priorities

“One we’ve already talked about is violent crime,” he said. “The number one priority in this office and other offices is national security, we’re in Chicago, we’ve always prioritize public corruption prosecutions and we’ll continue to do that moving forward.”

Lausch was tapped last year to replace Zachary Fardon after President Trump asked for the resignations of all Obama administration U.S. attorneys.  The 47-year-old Lausch, is a Joliet native and was most recently a partner at Chicago law firm.  But he’s not new to the U.S. attorney’s office having spent 11 years working as an assistant and leading the violent crime and gang unit.

When asked for his reaction to Trump’s repeated comments and tweets about Chicago crime being out of control, Lausch  said, “I think what people should have comfort in is that we have a lot of people very committed. Federal enforcement people here in the city are committed to fighting violent crime and I think that speaks louder than anything.”

Lausch also avoided all questions about changing policies coming out of Washington, that directly impact cities like Chicago, including the issue of sanctuary cities and marijuana prosecutions.

“We will follow the policies and procedures of the Justice Department.  That said, there is a lot of discretion that we have in each of our districts.”

Lausch says he’s still evaluating his office, but in his effort to bring what he calls “impactful cases” he’s looking to hire six new attorneys, including the three promised by the justice department to fight violent crime.  They will be added to his staff of more than 150.

Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson released a statement praising Lausch, saying:

John Lausch's legacy as a federal prosecutor is that he is a crime fighter. Now that he is the United States Attorney for the Northern District, I cant think of a better partner for me and the CPD to continue our efforts to make Chicago safer and target those who commit violence in our communities.