Karen Seifert

Karen Seifert
  • Special Counsel for National Security
  • Company: The United States Department of Justice

Karen Seifert received her B.A. from Northwestern University in 2004, and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2008. During law school, she summered at law firms in Beijing, New York, and London, focused on international practice. From 2008-2009, she clerked for the Honorable John M. Rogers on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 2009, Karen joined the Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, and started in the Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch, which primarily defends the government in civil actions alleging constitutional claims related to major federal programs. In March 2013, Karen joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (DC USAO), where she prosecuted major violent crime cases and later attained a senior AUSA position in the Appellate Division. In July 2016, Karen transferred to the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) of the Department’s Criminal Division, prosecuting drug cartel cases. Karen rejoined DC USAO in the National Security Section in May 2018 and was a senior AUSA in the National Security Section’s Threat Finance Unit, prosecuting money laundering, IEEPA, bank fraud, and terrorism cases. From October 2022 – July 2023, Karen served as the Acting Deputy Chief of the National Security Section. In August 2023, Karen was appointed Special Counsel for National Security.

Notable cases and awards include:

  • Karen was the lead attorney on United States v. British American Tobacco (BAT), a multi-year sanctions and bank fraud investigation into BAT’s sales of products through North Korea. The $629 million penalty assessed to BAT and its subsidiary, which pled guilty to the offenses in 2023, is the largest North Korean settlement in Department of Justice history.
  • Between 2020-present, Karen has been the lead attorney on several large-scale oil seizures by the Department of Justice related to the enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
  • Karen was part of the Department of Justice team that handled United States v. Airbus SE, a massive, multi-year, multi-country corporate prosecution that was resolved in early 2020 with the company paying combined penalties of more than €3.9 billion to resolve charges with authorities in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.
  • In 2019, Karen prosecuted United States v. Mustafa Al-Imam, convicting a Libyan national of material support of terrorism for his involvement in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya.
  • In 2017, Karen teamed with DC AUSAs in the National Security Section to prosecute United States v. Jose Emanuel Garcia Sota, et al., convicting members of the Los Zetas cartel who ambushed two ICE agents in Mexico, killing one and wounding the other. For her work on that case, Karen received the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award and the FBI Director’s Award.
  • In 2021, Karen received the DC Association of AUSA’s inaugural Patricia J. Smoot Award, which recognizes young AUSAs who have demonstrated great leadership, a commitment to inclusiveness, and passion for the mission of the DC USAO.

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