New U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan Jr. sworn in Thursday

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Peter Deegan, Jr. was sworn in Thursday as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.

Deegan was nominated by President Donald Trump on July 19 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week. U.S. District Judge Linda Reade gave the oath of office to Deegan Thursday.

“Having been part of the office for most of my professional career, I know firsthand that it is made up of an exceptional group of dedicated and talented public servants,” Deegan said in a statement Thursday. “It’s both an honor and a privilege to be chosen to serve as the United States Attorney.”

Deegan, as the top-ranking federal law enforcement official in the district, oversees a staff of 46 employees, including 25 attorneys and 21 support staff, according to a news release. The office is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the district, including crimes related to terrorism, public corruption, child exploitation, firearms, and narcotics. The office also handles civil cases and collects debts owed to the United States.

Deegan started his career as a federal prosecutor in 1998 when he joined the Sioux City branch office as a special assistant U.S. attorney through the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. In 1999, he became an assistant U.S. Attorney in that same office and then moved to the Cedar Rapids office in 2001.

From 2004 to 2006, Deegan served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit where he prosecuted general criminal matters including alien smuggling, medical device smuggling, and financial fraud.

He returned to Cedar Rapids in 2006 and prosecuted the two largest financial fraud cases in the history of the district and many other high profile criminal cases. These included a $215,000,000 fraud committed by Russell Wasendorf, owner of Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. in Cedar Falls, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

In 2015, Deegan was appointed the chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and served in that position until his confirmation.

Deegan also has received several U.S. Department of Justice honors and awards for his work as a federal prosecutor, including the Executive Office for United States Attorney’s Director’s Award and a Special Commendation award from the Civil Division, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Deegan teaches Federal White Collar Crime as an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa Law School. He has also served as a regular trial advocacy instructor at the Department of Justice’s National Trial Advocacy Center in Columbia, S.C., and as a visiting trial advocacy instructor at the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Deegan earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Middle East Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 1992 and received his law degree from Wayne State University Law School in 1995. Before joining the office, he clerked for United States District Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff in the Eastern District of Michigan. He also practiced law in Chicago.           

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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