Francis Jerome “Jerry” Diskin, a federal prosecutor who handled terrorism, fraud and drug cases, died on June 1 from complications of brain surgery. He was 57.
A native of Mineola, N.Y., Diskin graduated from Catholic University in Washington D.C., and earned his law degree from Georgetown University. He clerked for Judge Harry E. Wood at the U.S. Court of Claims for a year, then spent three years with the Army Judge Advocate Corps at Fort Lewis Base in Washington.
Diskin launched a 30-year career with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1976. Working out of the Western District of Washington branch, he served as chief of the criminal division, senior litigation counsel, supervisor of the drug unit and interim U.S. attorney.
In 2001, Diskin gained national attention for successfully prosecuting the “Millennium Bomber.” Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam was arrested in 1999 as he tried to enter the U.S. from British Columbia through Port Angeles, Wash. In a truck filled with bomb-making materials, Ressam planned to drive down the West coast and blow up Los Angeles International Airport. Instead, he was apprehended by authorities and prosecuted by Diskin for plotting terrorist activities.
Ressam was convicted of conspiracy to commit international terrorism and on various explosives charges. In exchange for a reduced prison sentence, he has provided information to the government about Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.
Diskin’s superior performance as an assistant U.S. attorney was recognized in 2001 when he received a Director’s Award from the United States Attorney General.