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Obama to tap ex-Enron prosecutor to run Justice Department criminal unit

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks from the White House about the shootings at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington September 16, 2013. REUTERS/
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks from the White House about the shootings at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington September 16, 2013. REUTERS/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Tuesday it planned to nominate a former prosecutor who helped build the case against Enron Corp to serve as the U.S. Justice Department's top criminal cop.

President Barack Obama said he would nominate Leslie Caldwell, a private lawyer who previously supervised the Justice Department's case against one of the largest accounting frauds in U.S. history, to run the agency's criminal division.

Obama's previous head of the division, Lanny Breuer, raised its profile with record financial settlements but also shouldered much of the blame for bringing few marquee cases related to the financial crisis.

Breuer did not have prior Justice Department experience when taking the post. Caldwell has spent 17 years with the agency, as a federal prosecutor in California and New York.

Caldwell, who was expected to be tapped for the post, also led the Enron Task Force from 2002 to 2004.

She left before the task force's major cases went to trial to become a partner at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where she has defended companies and individuals in white-collar cases.

If confirmed, Caldwell would take the reins from Mythili Raman, who has led the division since March.

Raman held the post in an acting capacity, after Breuer left the agency for the private sector.

(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Karey Van Hall and Eric Walsh)

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