Trump taps Cullen for U.S. Attorney post

President Donald Trump has nominated former federal prosecutor Thomas T. Cullen to lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office serving the Western District of Virginia.

The White House announced Trump’s endorsement of Cullen on Friday with the president’s intent to nominate “an eleventh wave of United States Attorneys.” Cullen was one of five people nominated in this “wave,” according to the White House press release.

The nomination comes more than a year into the Trump presidency and three months after Chief Judge Michael F. Urbanski administered the oath of office to Rick A. Mountcastle to serve as U.S. Attorney for the district. U.S. Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions appointed Mountcastle as acting U.S. attorney Jan. 7, 2017. Mountcastle’s appointment remains in effect for 120 days or until the Senate confirms a nomination by the president.

Mountcastle has worked as a federal prosecutor for more that 30 years, first with the Department of Justice and, for the past 22 years, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Cullen works as a principal at the Roanoke-based law firm Woods Rogers PLC and represents clients in civil and criminal litigation. Prior to working for the firm, Cullen served as an assistant U.S. attorney in both the Western District of Virginia and the Western District of North Carolina. Cullen worked as a law clerk to Judge Roger L. Gregory, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and to Judge Robert E. Payne, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke,  lauded Cullen’s nomination.

“The position of United States Attorney plays a critical role in ensuring justice is served in our communities and the rule of law outlined in our Constitution is followed,” Goodlatte says in a statement issued Friday afternoon. “I applaud President Trump’s nomination of Thomas Cullen to fill this post in the Western District of Virginia.

“Mr. Cullen is highly qualified for this role,” Goodlatte adds. “I hope the Senate will act quickly to confirm his position.”

Cullen earned his bachelor’s degree from Furman University and his law degree from William & Mary School of Law in Williamsburg.