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Thomas W. Traxler, Jr.

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Thomas “Tommy” Traxler’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense. He represents plaintiffs and defendants in a broad array of subject matters, including antitrust, class action, securities, financial, and general commercial litigation. As a former federal prosecutor, he brings substantial experience in leading teams in high-stakes litigation and jury trials.

For nearly seven years, Mr. Traxler served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the National Security and International Crime Unit in the Eastern District of Virginia. In that capacity, Mr. Traxler led teams in investigating and prosecuting violations of federal criminal law, focusing primarily on national security and extraterritorial offenses. He handled cases through the life cycle of litigation, from charging through appeal and postconviction litigation. Among other responsibilities, he first-chaired jury trials, argued substantive motions in federal district court, examined witnesses in grand jury proceedings, and argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

As a federal prosecutor, he frequently handled high-profile, sensitive cases that received national and international attention. He was one of the lead prosecutors in charging Julian Assange, the founder and leader of WikiLeaks, for conduct related to one of the largest leaks of classified information in American history. He handled highly publicized civil-contempt proceedings related to Chelsea Manning’s refusal to testify before the grand jury. Mr. Traxler also led the team that secured the conviction of former Special Forces officer Peter Debbins for participating in a 14-year espionage conspiracy with Russian intelligence agents. Mr. Traxler likewise played a significant role on the team that brought the first-ever indictment under the federal War Crimes Act against four Russian-affiliated soldiers for alleged war crimes committed against a U.S. national in Ukraine.

Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Mr. Traxler was an associate at Kellogg Hansen, where his practice centered on complex civil litigation.

Noteworthy Representations

  • United States v. Assange, No. 1:18-CR-111 (E.D. Va.) – Served as one of the lead prosecutors in charging and seeking the extradition of the founder and leader of WikiLeaks based on allegations that he illegally obtained and disclosed national defense information, and conspired to engage in computer intrusion, in connection with one of the largest leaks of classified information in American history.
  • In re Grand Jury (Chelsea Manning), Nos. 1:19-DM-3, 1:19-DM-12 (E.D. Va.) – Served as one of the lead prosecutors in civil-contempt proceedings against Chelsea Manning for her refusal to testify before the grand jury.  Successfully argued in opposition to her motion to quash the subpoena, advocated that she be sanctioned for civil contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury, and defended the contempt order on appeal.
  • United States v. Debbins, No. 1:20-cr-193 (E.D. Va.) – Served as the lead prosecutor in securing the conviction of a former Special Forces officer who pleaded guilty to participating in a 14-year espionage conspiracy with Russian intelligence agents.
  • United States v. Speed, No. 1:22-cr-165 (E.D. Va.) – Served as the lead prosecutor in securing the conviction in a jury trial of a January 6 participant, who possessed a Top Secret security clearance and espoused the use of violence to wipe out the Jewish population, for unlawful possession of unregistered firearm silencers.
  • United States v. Montes-Bobadilla, No. 1:15-cr-290 (E.D. Va.) – Served as the lead prosecutor in securing the convictions, through guilty pleas and trial by jury, of extradited leaders and associates of one of the largest drug cartels in Honduras for their participation in a large-scale, violent international cocaine-trafficking conspiracy.
  • United States v. Mkrtchyan, No. 3:23-cr-161 (E.D. Va.) – Served in a significant role on the team that brought the first-ever indictment under the federal War Crimes Act against four Russian-affiliated soldiers for alleged war crimes committed against a U.S. national in Ukraine.
  • United States v. Amin, --- F.4th --- (4th Cir. 2023) – Served as the lead prosecutor in successfully defending the district court’s order revoking the supervised release of a defendant who had been convicted of conspiring to provide material support or resources to ISIS.  After hearing oral argument, the Fourth Circuit issued a published opinion affirming on all grounds.
  • In re Steel Antitrust Litigation, 08-cv-5214 (N.D. Ill.) – Represented a class of direct purchasers in a class action alleging that manufacturers colluded to reduce steel output and stabilize prices. 
  • Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. (Va. Cir. Ct.) – Represented Alpha Natural Resources’ subsidiary A.T. Massey Coal Company in a long-running and highly publicized lawsuit brought by Hugh Caperton and his coal companies asserting claims of fraud and tortious interference.  Prior to Kellogg Hansen’s involvement, plaintiffs had won a jury verdict in West Virginia against Massey for more than $50 million.  After that verdict was overturned on appeal, plaintiffs brought the same case in Virginia, this time seeking more than $100 million in damages.  Massey hired Kellogg Hansen for the Virginia trial.  After a 5-week trial, the jury awarded only $5 million.  The trial court granted a new trial on damages but further proceedings were stayed due to Alpha’s unrelated filing of bankruptcy.  
  • Bank of New York Mellon Foreign Exchange Transactions Litigation – Defended the Bank of New York Mellon in litigation challenging foreign exchange services provided to customers.

Education

  • University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., summa cum laude, 2010
    • Editor in Chief, South Carolina Law Review
    • Dean’s Medallion (awarded to valedictorian of graduating class)
    • CALI Award (13 classes)
    • Order of the Coif
    • Claud N. Sapp Award
    • Compleat Lawyer Bronze Award
  • Vanderbilt University, B.A., magna cum laude, 2007

Clerkship

  • Law Clerk, Judge Diane S. Sykes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2012-2013
  • Law Clerk, Judge Henry F. Floyd, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (2011-2012) and U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina 2010-2011

Achievements and Memberships

  • FBI Washington Field Office Service Awards (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • Permanent Member, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference

Government Service

  • Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Division, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria Division), 2017-2023

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