Position: Chief of the National Security and International Crime Unit, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia
Best known for: Oversees 10 to 15 active criminal cases at any given time and a staff of more than a dozen people. Grooms might be conferring with officials from the FBI or the Drug Enforcement Administration on a sensitive investigation one day, and the next discussing legal strategies or consulting with State Department officials or foreign law-enforcement authorities. In the past two years, Grooms has supervised cases with links to six continents involving drug kingpins, arms traffickers, secret agents of foreign governments and terrorism.
His work has resulted in a number of notable convictions. In July, a Leesburg man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for providing information to Syrian intelligence agencies to silence, intimidate and potentially harm individuals in the United States protesting the regime.
In another case handled by Grooms’s unit this year, a 29-year-old Alexandria resident pleaded guilty in connection with a plan to carry out a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol.
And in another recent case, a Fairfax man was sentenced to 24 months in prison for conspiracy and tax violations for secretly taking millions of dollars from the Pakistan government to fund lobbying efforts in America related to Kashmir.
A number of his cases also have involved narcotics trafficking. Colleagues describe Grooms as a hard-working, aggressive prosecutor who is fair, respected and full of passion.
Government work: Grooms began his federal career as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice Tax Division in 2003, and subsequently was assigned to handle organized crime and narcotics cases at the U.S Attorney’s Office in Alexandria. He became chief of that unit before being named to head the office’s national security and international crime section.
Motivation for service: Grooms said he knew he wanted to be a federal prosecutor after his first summer at Harvard Law School when he had an internship in a U. S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta.
While at Harvard, Grooms received a Heyman Fellowship that provided him with financial assistance in return for a commitment to spend at least three years in the federal government. The late Samuel J. Heyman, the benefactor of the fellowship program, is the founder of the Partnership for Public Service. “I don’t think I’ve looked back since,” Grooms said.
Biggest challenge: Juggling the many demands of the job, from supervising his staff, to conferring with agencies and foreign countries, to handling the numerous complex and sensitive cases. “It is a daily challenge just to keep everything straight and moving in the right direction,” he said.
Quote: “At the end of each day, I can go home and say I believe what I was advocating. It may sound like a cliché, but the great thing about this job is the opportunity to go to work every day knowing your sole duty is to try to do the right thing.”
— From the Partnership
for Public Service
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