New US Attorney in Chicago plans to prioritize public corruption, violent crime

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The new U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois spoke to reporters for the first time since being sworn in.

John Lausch said he has many challenges ahead and he details his relationship with the Trump Administration.

While it was President Trump who fired all the previous U.S. Attorneys, John Lausch said he never interviewed with the president, only with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Lausch is a Chicago native who graduated from Harvard and Northwestern Law School. His priority is doing what is right for the Northern District of Illinois, despite constant ridicule about Chicago from President Trump.

"I'm not going to comment on the politics or the rhetoric that may come out from one place or another," Lausch said.

The new U.S. Attorney said he expects to be able to do his job without interference from the Trump Administration.

"One of the things that has been very clear from the Attorney General and this Justice Department is that there is a lot of discretion we have in each of our districts to do the right thing," he said.

Lausch plans to use that discretion to prioritize public corruption and violent crime. The 47-year-old's background includes 10 years as an assistant U.S. Attorney, five of those in charge of the gang unit.

In the process of hiring more prosecutors devoted to violent crime, Lausch said he plans to aggressively use RICO and gun trafficking laws to fight crime. But after working in the private sector as a defense attorney for a few years, Lausch said he is more sensitive to the plight of a defendant.

"I think it is important for prosecutors to understand the impact of the work we do and how it impacts the people, the defendants in our cases," Lausch said.

Unlike his two predecessors, Lausch is from the Chicago area. A Joliet Catholic graduate, Lausch said it is energizing to tackle challenges like crime and public corruption in his home town.

"I love this city, it's phenomenal city," he said.

And it's a political city, but Lausch avoided any politically related questions.

Besides the president, Lausch would not comment on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' latest ramped up pressure on sanctuary cities.

While Lausch was privately sworn into office in November, a public ceremony is scheduled for February 1.
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