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Leslie Caldwell in line to head DOJ Criminal Division

Leslie Caldwell, then chief prosecutor of the Enron Task Force, in 2004
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Leslie Caldwell, then chief prosecutor of the Enron Task Force, in 2004

White-collar defense attorney Leslie Caldwell, who once headed the Justice Department's elite Enron Task Force, is in line to return to Washington to head the department's Criminal Division, according to a source with knowledge of the process.

As assistant attorney general, she would oversee most federal criminal prosecution, including cyber- and white-collar crime, money laundering and public corruption.

Caldwell, who had been a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn and San Francisco, headed the Enron Task Force from 2002 to 2004, securing the indictment of former CEO Jeff Skilling, and the indictment and guilty plea of former Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow.

Caldwell left the DOJ in 2004 to head the white-collar practice at Morgan Lewis & Bockius in New York.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. Caldwell was on vacation and did not respond to an email.

If confirmed by the Senate, she would take over the post vacated in March by Lanny Breuer, who left to become a partner at Covington & Burling in Washington.

Breuer's former deputy, Mythili Raman, has been acting head of the division.

—By CNBC's Scott Cohn; Follow him on Twitter @ScottCohnCNBC

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