David Risley lived in Egypt and worked closely with the Egyptian judiciary and Ministry of Justice from September 2010 to April 2015 while serving as the U.S. Department of Justice Attaché and Legal Advisor, based in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. From November 2005 to September 2006, he served a DOJ detail in Iraq as an Attorney-Advisor to the Iraqi High Tribunal, assisting in the investigation and prosecution of crimes against humanity and genocide committed by Saddam Hussein and members of his former regime, particularly crimes against the Marsh Arabs.

Between those assignments in Egypt and Iraq, he served as the lead counter-terrorism prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois, during which time he prosecuted Ali Saleh Al-Marri (a domestically detained al Qaeda sleeper agent) and initiated the prosecution of Michael Finton (who attempted to blow up the Federal Building in Springfield, Illinois). In total, he served as a federal prosecutor for 32 years before retiring from federal government service to pursue his Egypt Justice Project (). He received his Juris Doctor degree in 1981 from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University.

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