Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Zachary A. Cunha to be Next U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island
Cunha’s nomination heads to full Senate
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Whitehouse serves, approved the nomination of current Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha to be the next U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island by voice vote. Mr. Cunha currently serves as chief of the civil division for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Rhode Island.
“We are very pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced Mr. Cunha’s nomination. We look forward to a swift vote by the full Senate so that Mr. Cunha can quickly get to work serving the people of Rhode Island,” said Reed and Whitehouse.
President Biden recommended Mr. Cunha to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September on the advice of Senators Reed and Whitehouse.
The U.S. Attorney serves as the state’s top federal law enforcement official and is responsible for overseeing an office that prosecutes federal cases across Rhode Island. Whitehouse served as U.S. Attorney himself from 1993 to 1998, before being elected Attorney General of Rhode Island later that year.
A federal prosecutor since 2005, Mr. Cunha joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island in 2014. He earned a promotion to chief of the civil division in February 2018. Prior to being appointed to his current post, Mr. Cunha served as the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Coordinator in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island. In that capacity, he was responsible for cases in which the United States, as plaintiff, seek to vindicate governmental interests, combat fraud, and recover funds under the Federal False Claims Act.
Mr. Cunha began his career with the Justice Department in the Eastern District of New York, where he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 2005 to 2008. Before joining the Department, Mr. Cunha worked as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, representing the City and its officers in federal litigation. Mr. Cunha also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Massachusetts for five years, commuting to Boston from his home in Rhode Island. Mr. Cunha and his family are long-time Rhode Island residents.
In 2010, Mr. Cunha received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the highest honor conferred by the U.S. Department of Justice, for his work as part of the prosecution team that achieved a $2.3 billion dollar civil and criminal resolution of charges against Pfizer, Inc. for illegal marketing conduct. At the time, this case represented the largest civil recovery and fine ever collected by the Department of Justice in a health care fraud case.
Mr. Cunha earned a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from Brown University in 1998, and a Juris Doctorate, also with honors, from the George Washington University Law School in 2001.
Currently, the position is being filled by Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.