Wednesday, April 14, 2021
The U.S. has recently witnessed a growing number of violent acts and hate crimes perpetuated against Asian-American communities across the country. While racism and discrimination against Asian-Americans has tragically reverberated throughout American history, the recent surge of hatred and violence has mobilized fear and national concern. While law enforcement has an important role to play in tackling this disturbing trend, addressing bias-motivated crimes like anti-Asian violence is not only about prosecution, believes Jeff Tsai, a former federal and state prosecutor—it’s also about trying to understand what’s happening in our society and to actively effectuate policy changes and educational outreach.
Jeff Tsai is a former federal and state prosecutor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A trial lawyer currently in private practice, Tsai spent a considerable part of his career in public service. He most recently served in government as a special assistant attorney general of California. He was also a principal legal advisor to former Attorney General, and now Vice President, Kamala D. Harris on policy issues related to criminal justice reform, corporate accountability enforcement, and he supervised multiple high-impact enforcement actions.
Tsai also spent many years serving in the U.S. Justice Department. He was an assistant U.S. attorney in Miami, Florida, as well as a senior counsel to the former Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in Washington D.C. He also served as a public corruption trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section in Washington D.C., where he prosecuted and tried former U.S. Senator John Edwards for violations of federal campaign finance laws in connection with his primary campaign for president.
Frequently called upon for legal commentary and analysis in the media, Tsai began his career as a judicial law clerk for U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore in Houston. He received a law degree from Georgetown University. A native Texan, he earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was elected student body president.
Mr. Tsai's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund.