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Vipal Patel Named Acting U.S. Attorney For Southern District Of Ohio

Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Vipal J. Patel
U.S. Attorney's Office
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Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Vipal J. Patel

An acting federal prosecutor was named Monday for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio, after the former officeholder stepped down under the Justice Department's transition to the Biden administration.

Vipal Patel, a longtime assistant U.S. attorney from Dayton, will serve as acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, overseeing criminal prosecutions in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and most of Appalachian Ohio.

“These are huge shoes to fill, and I am humbled and honored to fill them,” Patel said in a statement. “The important work of the public servants in this Office – and their dedication to justice – continues. Our casework will persist uninterrupted.”

Patel is a longtime federal prosecutor who has served in the office's criminal, civil and appellate divisions. He was the lead prosecutor in the 2018 trial of a man convicted of trying to joint the Islamic State, winning the case and defending it successfully on appeal. He also prosecuted the friend of the 2019 Dayton mass shooter on weapons charges. In 2011, he spent a year in Afghanistan as a Justice Department civilian advisor on anti-corruption and counter-narcotics assignment.

Patel, 53, lives in Dayton. He immigrated from India with his parents in 1970 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1981.

Patel succeeds former U.S. Attorney David DeVillers, who resigned last month after the Justice Department requested that U.S. Attorney appointees of former President Donald Trump step down. Devillers was appointed to the post by Trump in 2019.

Among the high-profile cases Patel inherits is the office's investigation of a $60 million bribery probe that alleges the former speaker of the Ohio House and others funneled energy company money toward a legislative effort to bail out two aging nuclear power plants.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is also leading a federal criminal and civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of Casey Goodson Jr. by a Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy, and another civil rights probe of the killing of Andre Hill by a since-fired Columbus Police officer.