Aaron Zebley is a former federal prosecutor with more than 18 years of experience at the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Before rejoining WilmerHale in 2019, Mr. Zebley served as the Deputy Special Counsel under Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the duration of the office’s investigation of Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing and managing all day-to-day investigation and prosecution matters. Mr. Zebley’s practice focuses on investigations, national security matters, and defending clients facing government enforcement actions or congressional inquiries. 

Between 2011 and 2013, Mr. Zebley served as the Chief of Staff of the FBI. In that role, he advised the Director on national security, criminal, operational and policy matters, and he represented the agency before senior leaders at the DOJ, the White House, US Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country, and agencies within the Intelligence Community. Mr. Zebley also served as the Director’s lead counsel in numerous congressional hearings. 

Earlier in his career Mr. Zebley served as an Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. He investigated and prosecuted espionage, mishandling of classified information, illegal arms brokering, fraud and other offenses. While serving in that capacity, Mr. Zebley handled a number of jury and bench trials, including as lead counsel.

Previously, Mr. Zebley served as a special agent in the FBI. He investigated international terrorism, both serving as a team leader in the investigation of the September 11 attacks and as a lead investigator for the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in east Africa. He led teams working across the globe and negotiated with foreign governments for access to evidence. During those investigations, Mr. Zebley worked and lived overseas for almost two years.

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • Guest Speaker, Advanced Topics in Law and Public Service, UVA School of Law, November 2019
  • Guest Speaker, National Security Law, William & Mary Law School, October 2019


    • As the Deputy Special Counsel, oversaw and managed all day-to-day investigation and prosecution activities in the Special Counsel’s investigation of Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and related matters.  
    • Represented a major national sports league in an independent investigation of its handling of evidence in a domestic violence incident. 
    • Represented a large information technology consulting firm in a review of workplace security, personnel, and management practices following the arrest of an employee for the theft of classified material.
    • Working with the settlement master, conducted settlement discussions for the multibillion-dollar resolution of a multistate consumer class action and regulatory enforcement actions against Volkswagen for excess diesel emissions.
    • Represented a US-based global engineering, procurement and construction company in an investigation of a fatal workplace violence incident that occurred overseas.
    • Represented a multinational security services company in an investigation of its hiring, screening, and handling of an employee following an off-duty incident that resulted in multiple fatalities.
    • Represented a multinational professional services company in an investigation of a data breach incident.
    • Represented a large commercial bank in criminal actions against employees in their South American offices resulting in Interpol red notices.
    • Represented witnesses in a DOJ/FBI criminal investigation of mishandling of classified information and in a related congressional investigation.
    • Represented a former senior government official in an Inspector General investigation relating to the handling of unclassified sensitive information.


  • Received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of US National Security for his work on United States v. Moussaoui.
  • Received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his work on United States v. Usama Bin Ladin et al.
  • Received the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Supporting the National Security Mission for his work as prosecuting attorney on United States v. Tai Shen Kuo, Gregg Bergersen, and Yu Xin Kang.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, University of Virginia School of Law, 1996

    • BA, College of William and Mary, 1992

      magna cum laude Phi Beta Kappa
  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York

    • US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

  • Government Experience

    • Department of Justice

      Special Counsel’s Office

      Deputy Special Counsel
    • Department of Justice

      National Security Division

      Senior Counselor
    • Department of Justice

      Federal Bureau of Investigation

      Chief of Staff
    • Department of Justice

      Federal Bureau of Investigation

      Deputy Chief of Staff
    • Department of Justice

      Federal Bureau of Investigation

      Special Counsel to the Director
    • Department of Justice

      United States Attorney's Office

      Assistant US Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia - National Security and Terrorism Unit
    • Department of Justice

      Federal Bureau of Investigation

      Special Agent, Counterterrorism Division