William H. Pauley III

William H. Pauley III (born August 14, 1952) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

William H. Pauley III
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Assumed office
March 1, 2018
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
October 22, 1998 – March 1, 2018
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded byPeter K. Leisure
Succeeded byvacant
Personal details
William H. Pauley III

(1952-08-14) August 14, 1952 (age 67)
Glen Cove, New York
EducationDuke University (AB, JD)

Education and careerEdit

Born in Glen Cove New York, Pauley received an Artium Baccalaureus degree from Duke University in 1974 and a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law in 1977. He was a law clerk for the Office of the Nassau County Attorney in New York City from 1977 to 1978. He was a Deputy county attorney of Nassau County Attorney' Office in 1978. He was in private practice in New York City from 1978 to 1998. He was an assistant counsel for the New York State Assembly Minority Leader from 1984 to 1998.

Federal judicial serviceEdit

On May 21, 1998, Pauley was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by Peter K. Leisure. Pauley was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 21, 1998, and received his commission on October 22, 1998. He assumed senior status on March 1, 2018.

Notable decisionsEdit

Pauley oversaw the criminal proceedings against Ben-ami Kadish, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Israel and admitted to leaked classified U.S. military agents to Israel in 1985. In 2009, Pauley sentenced Kadish to a $50,000 fine, declining to impose a prison sentence in light of the defendant's age and health (Kadish was 85 years old at the time). Pauley stated: "This offense is a grave one that implicates the national security of the United States. Why it took the government 23 years to charge Mr. Kadish is shrouded in mystery."[1]

In December 2013, Pauley dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the National Security Agency, ACLU v. Clapper, over the NSA's bulk collection of metadata on nearly every phone call made in the United States is legal under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Pauley's ruling contrasted with the opposite ruling by Judge Richard J. Leon in a similar case in the District of Columbia, Klayman v. Obama.[2][3] In May 2015, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Pauley's ruling and remanded the case for further consideration.[4]

In August 2018, Pauley presided over the hearing in which Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of providing false information to a credit institution, and two counts of campaign finance law violations. Cohen implicated Donald Trump in the hush money scandal, which involved payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels in exchange for the women's silence about alleged affairs with Trump (see Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal).[5][6] In December 2018, Pauley sentenced Cohen to three years in prison.[7]

In November 2018, Pauley declined to approve a proposed settlement in a case brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the city's long-troubled public housing authority. Pauley ruled that the proposed settlement was "not fair, reasonable or consistent with the public interest" because it had insufficient enforcement mechanisms to address poor conditions in public housing. Pauley criticized the city's mismanagement of NYCHA, and suggested that the federal United States Department of Housing and Urban Development had also failed to perform its legal responsibility.[8]


  1. ^ Benjamin Weiser, Man, 85, Avoids Jail Time for Giving Military Secrets, New York Times (May 29, 2009).
  2. ^ Evan Perez. "Judge rules NSA collection of phone records is legal". CNN.
  3. ^ Adam Liptak & Michael S. Schmidt (December 28, 2013). "Judge Upholds N.S.A.'s Bulk Collection of Data on Calls". New York Times.
  4. ^ Greenberg, Andy (May 2015). "Court Rules NSA Bulk Data Collection Was Never Authorized By Congress". Wire.
  5. ^ Willman, David (August 21, 2018). "Michael Cohen pleads guilty, says he coordinated hush money with Trump to influence election". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Erica Orden, Mark Morales, Kara Scannell, Shimon Prokupecz & Laura Jarrett, CNN (August 22, 2018). "Michael Cohen implicates Trump in hush money scheme". CNN.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Benjamin Weiser & William K. Rashbaum (December 12, 2018). "Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years After Implicating Trump in Hush-Money Scandal". New York Times.
  8. ^ Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Benjamin Weiser (November 14, 2018). "Judge Rejects Deal to Overhaul City's Public Housing". New York Times.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Peter K. Leisure
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York