Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today applauded President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate current Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha, chief of the civil division for the United States Attorney’s office, to be the next U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island. Reed and Whitehouse recommended Cunha to the White House in May.
“We fully support President Biden’s nomination of Zachary Cunha to be Rhode Island’s next U.S. Attorney. Mr. Cunha already has an outstanding record of service in the U.S. Attorney’s office. We look forward to marshalling support for Mr. Cunha in the Judiciary Committee and in the full Senate so he can quickly get to work protecting the people of Rhode Island,” said 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.
Cunha will need to be confirmed to a four-year term of service by the U.S. Senate. The nomination is expected to be considered in the coming weeks by the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Whitehouse serves.
A federal prosecutor since 2005, Zachary 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.
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.
Chip Unruh (Reed), 202-224-4642
Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), 401-453-5294