Eckert Seamans welcomes Benjamin A. Beliles as an associate in the firm’s Richmond office & White Collar Defense & Internal Investigations Group
November 13, 2019
Eckert Seamans is pleased to welcome Benjamin A. Beliles as an associate in the firm’s Richmond office and White Collar Defense & Internal Investigations Group. The former Air Force JAG officer has more than 13 years of experience in complex criminal prosecution, civil litigation, defense, appellate work, and internal investigations. He focuses his practice in white collar crime and complex civil litigation matters.
Beliles previously served as senior trial counsel for the Special Victims Unit of the U.S. Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. As the senior prosecutor for the Air Force’s legal offices in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and the U.K, he first-chaired 46 jury trials to verdict. While serving in that role, Beliles was named the Special Victims Unit Prosecutor of the Year on two occasions. Prior to that, he served as an area defense counsel to the U.S. Air Force at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, where he represented more than 450 Air Force members facing criminal and administrative proceedings throughout the U.S., South Korea, Hawaii, Guam, and Japan.
Just prior to leaving active duty, Beliles served as a federal litigation attorney, defending the agency in employment actions. In that role, he was designated the Air Force Subject Matter Expert in sexual harassment-based removals of civilian employees. Notably, Beliles successfully prosecuted Lt. Col. James Wilkerson for sexual assault at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The verdict was subsequently thrown out by the convening authority Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin. That action made the case a lightning rod for change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Beliles was integrally involved in its systemic revision to provide more robust protections for victims of sexual assault. During the fallout from the case, he served as a frequent media contributor.
For the past several years, Beliles worked internationally in private defense practice, representing U.S. military members and civilian employees in all branches of the military. He litigated boards of inquiry, EEOC and U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board hearings, and courts-martial. He had been designated a special assistant U.S. attorney in two districts and recently completed a stint as a special assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Nelson County, Virginia, where he prosecuted racketeering, meth distribution, and felony assault cases. He has litigated defense and prosecution cases to verdict in more than 100 state, military, and federal jury trials.
Beliles, who hails from Albemarle County, earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2006 and his B.A., with distinction, from the University of Virginia in 2003.