Mayor-elect Vincent Gray on Wednesday named gay former D.C. Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti as co-chair of his transition team’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Public Safety.
Spagnoletti, who served as attorney general during the administration of former Mayor Anthony Williams, is currently a partner in the D.C. law firm Schertler & Onorato, which specializes in criminal and civil litigation.
Earlier this year, Spagnoletti took part in a widely reported trial as defense attorney for Dylan Ward, one of three gay men charged with obstruction of justice, evidence tampering and conspiracy in connection with the 2006 murder of Washington attorney Robert Wone. A D.C. Superior Court judge found Ward and fellow defendants Joseph Price and Victor Zaborsky not guilty on all charges.
Prior to becoming attorney general, Spagnoletti served as a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s office in D.C. He is credited with helping to create programs to assist LGBT crime victims, including victims of hate crimes and domestic violence.
His appointment by Gray to a mayoral transition team panel that will make recommendations on public safety issues comes at a time when LGBT activists have raised concern that D.C. police have not adequately addressed anti-LGBT hate crimes in recent years.
“This committee will look at the agencies responsible for public safety and make recommendations on how to best ensure safe neighborhoods; and examine the government’s legal service operations and make recommendations for improvement,” an announcement by Gray of his transition team says.
Gray named Karl Racine, a local attorney and former Clinton administration White House legal counsel, as co-chair of the transition team’s Legal Affairs and Public Safety Committee.
Spagnoletti and Racine are two of 14 transition team appointments that Gray announced at a news conference on Wednesday. Others include former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, former Clinton administration official Alice Rivlin, and former George Washington University President Joel Trachtenberg.
Mayoral transition team leaders usually don’t go on to permanent appointments by D.C. mayors, although some have served as informal advisers.