Chad Meacham, a longtime top federal prosecutor in Dallas, has been named acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
He succeeds Prerak Shah, who had been interim U.S. attorney since the Jan. 8 resignation of U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. Shah announced days ago that that he was leaving the office, effective today.
Cox, appointed by President Donald Trump, stepped aside, as is customary, to allow the incoming administration to choose her permanent successor. As The Texas Lawbook reported earlier this week, President Joe Biden has yet to nominate a U.S. attorney for any of the four federal districts in Texas.
Meacham, a 1992 graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Law, has previously served as criminal chief assistant and first assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District.
As interim boss, he will supervise about 120 government lawyers in 100 counties with a combined population of about 8 million.
Among the high-profile prosecutions in which he had a key role were those of Carlos Ortiz Jr., a former FBI agent who pleaded guilty in 2010 to threatening the life of a bureau supervisor who fired him; and Andrew Hillman, a healthcare executive who confessed to accepting bribes and kickbacks from Forest Park Medical Center, a defunct Dallas hospital that was at the heart of a $200 million healthcare fraud scheme.
Meacham said in a statement released Friday, “Given the Northern District of Texas’ wealth of legal talent, this appointment comes as a great honor. I am continually impressed by my colleagues’ intelligence, drive, and integrity, and I look forward to leading them onward in our fight for justice. The mission has never been more important.”
Shah added, “I know that Chad will do an excellent job leading this office, and will both continue and improve upon the superb work the prosecutors and staff of the Northern District do every single day.”
Top officials in the office declined to comment on the administration’s search for a permanent U.S. attorney.
Republican and Democratic lawyers familiar with the search told The Lawbook prominent candidates are believed to include Tom Melsheimer, managing partner of the Dallas office of Winston & Strawn; Andrew LeGrand, a partner with Gibson Dunn in Dallas; two current assistant U.S. attorneys, P.J. Meitl and Errin Martin; and Delonia Watson of Fort Worth, a former assistant U.S. attorney and former assistant Tarrant County district attorney.