Donald Washington

WASHINGTON — Prominent Lafayette lawyer and former U.S. Attorney Donald Washington is President Donald Trump's pick to lead the U.S. Marshals Service, the White House announced.

If confirmed, Washington would oversee the nation's oldest law enforcement agency, which is primarily responsible for handling security at federal courthouses, transporting federal prisoners and tracking down fugitives.

President George W. Bush had tapped Washington to serve as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, a 42-parish federal jurisdiction that includes Lafayette, Shreveport and Lake Charles. Washington served in that job from 2001 to 2010.

Washington is a partner at Jones Walker, a white-shoe law firm founded in New Orleans that boasts offices in Washington, D.C., and across the country, primarily in the South.

In a joint statement Wednesday, Louisiana U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, both Republicans, praised Washington's selection.

“Don is a great choice to head the U.S. Marshals Service and I applaud President Trump for nominating him,” Cassidy said. “Don served Louisiana well as U.S. attorney and I’m honored to have known him for many years. I wholeheartedly support his nomination and look forward to seeing him confirmed.”

Kennedy said, “President Trump made a great choice in picking Don Washington to serve as the head of the U.S. Marshals Service. I know that Don will do an outstanding job at the Marshal Service, just like he has done for the state of Louisiana. I look forward talking more with him through his confirmation process.”

A West Point graduate, Washington earned his law degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston.

Washington also served as the temporary Lafayette city marshal earlier this year while the elected city marshal, Brian Pope, served a 30-day jail sentence, according to The Daily Advertiser. A judge had sent Pope to jail after finding the marshal violated the terms of his probation from his 2016 contempt of court conviction stemming from a public records lawsuit.

Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.