James P. Gillis

James P. Gillis

James P. Gillis

Adjunct Faculty

James P. Gillis has tried cases in the federal district courts of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia, as well as in the state courts of Michigan and Pennsylvania. He has handled federal appeals in the First, Third, Fourth, and D.C. Circuits. Mr. Gillis retired from public service after thirty years as a federal prosecutor.  He specialized in national security matters, and was likely the only federal prosecutor to have tried to conclusion two espionage cases and three terrorism cases. He also tried the first terrorism prosecution of a foreign enemy combatant in a civilian, Article III court. During his career, Mr. Gillis also prosecuted international crimes, such as trafficking in munitions and sensitive technology, and white-collar crimes, such as bank fraud and securities fraud.

Mr. Gillis has taught criminal justice ethics at GMU since 2015, except during the pandemic when he was unable to teach in the face-to-face setting that he prefers.

Courses Taught

Criminal Justice Ethics (CRIM 306)


J.D., University of Notre Dame Law School

B.A., Michigan State University

In the Media

Tale of a Would-Be Spy, Buried Treasure, and Uncrackable Code, Wired Magazine, Jan. 25, 2010 

Terror suspect makes unprecedented appearance in U.S. court, CBS News, Nov. 4, 2014 

US finds 'Soviet Taliban' fighter guilty of terrorism, Al Jazeera, Aug. 8, 2015

Three Defendants Arrested on Charges of Providing Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization, FBI, July 23, 2014

Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit. The spy who couldn't spell: a dyslexic traitor, an unbreakable code, and the FBI's hunt for America's stolen secrets. New York, NY: New American Library, 2016. Print.

Two Women Convicted of Raising Money Online for Al-Shabaab, ABC News, Oct. 26, 2016

In Rare Case, Women Go to Prison for Supporting Terrorism, Washington Post, Mar. 31, 2017