Passion for Justice Earns Mattivi, '94, Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Photograph: Tony MattiviAfter more than four years leading a prosecution team of 17 people seeking convictions in the case of a terrorist attack on the USS Cole, Tony Mattivi, '94, was presented the Secretary of Defense's Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service on April 16, 2015. This award is the highest honor given to career civilian employees. Mattivi is senior assistant U.S. attorney assigned to prosecuting terrorism cases in Kansas.

Mattivi lead the team in the prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was charged with masterminding the suicide bombing attack on the U.S.S. Cole, an American destroyer in the Port of Aden in Yemen. The attack on Oct. 12, 2000, killed 17 U.S. navy sailors and wounded 39 more. 

Mattivi’s legal work extended abroad in 2007, when he completed a six-month assignment with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Baghdad. Although he was born at Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco, he didn’t have a military background, yet wanted to serve in some capacity in Iraq. There he was assigned to the DOJ’s Regime Crimes Liaison Office as an advisor to the Iraqi High Tribunal.

In Kansas, Mattivi has served as assistant Shawnee County district attorney and assistant Kansas attorney general. Since 1998, in his role as senior assistant U.S. attorney, he has mainly prosecuted methamphetamine and other drug trafficking cases; arson and explosives cases; bank robberies; and gang cases. With the FBI, he also investigated national security cases that involved suspected international terrorist activities in Kansas.

Currently, his assignments consist of handling national security cases and a general caseload of prosecuting defendants charged with federal offenses.  

A related story in The Topeka Capital-Journal can be found at:

Mattivi was a guest of the International and Comparative Law Center and Student International Law Society (ILS) on Oct. 23, 2014, where he spoke to Washburn Law students on war crimes (photo).