Three federal prosecutors — R. Alexander Acosta, Thomas J. Mulvihill and Edward C. Nucci — have made the final cut to become the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, reports the Miami Herald. The trio were chosen from a group of six candidates interviewed by the federal Judicial Nominating Commission in Florida. Acosta, the acting U.S. Attorney, was until recently the chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights divison. After Sen. Mel Martinez (F-Fl.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fl.), interview the finalists, President Bush will pick the nominee for the $140,000-a-year position, which requires Senate confirmation.
Acosta, 36, replaced U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez, who resigned to return to private practice. Mulvihill, 53, a longtime federal prosecutor, was Jimenez’s second-in-command and has continued in that role with Acosta; Nucci, 53, once served as chief of the U.S. attorney’s criminal division in South Florida and currently is on special detail with the counterterrorism section of the Justice Department. The Miami-based U.S. attorney sets the agenda for thousands of complex criminal cases, manages more than 200 prosecutors and deals with dozens of investigative agencies. The Southern District of Florida is known mainly for its major narcotics conspiracy investigations — especially those with Colombian connections. Today, the main focus is anti-terrorism, including immigration-related cases.