U.S. Attorneys’ Firing Could Affect Enforcement Priorities

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The departure of 46 U.S. Attorneys who were asked to resign Friday could substantially affect the law enforcement priorities of the offices they ran, the Washington Post reports. Although individual cases and investigations are likely to press on no matter who heads each U.S. attorney’s office, their enforcement priorities could change depending on who is at the top. Kenneth Polite, the U.S. attorney in New Orleans, increased the number of prosecutors handling violent crime and established a public integrity unit. His successor may have other ideas. In Baton Rouge, local law enforcement officials pleaded with Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to leave in place Walt Green, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, citing his efforts fighting violent crime.

A Marine who served two tours in Iraq, Green created several crime-fighting units that have led to a 16 percent drop in homicides and a 22 percent reduction in violent crime since 2012, the officials said. Green resigned. Those removed included Barbara McQuade, who served 12 years as a federal prosecutor in Detroit before becoming U.S. attorney. Another prosecutor asked to step down was John Vaudreuil, who until Friday was the U.S. attorney in Madison, Wi. Vaudreuil has been to more than 25 countries on behalf of the department, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Russia, supporting democracy-building efforts. “We talk about the rule of law and how we do things in a free country,” said Vaudreuil, 62. “To me, that’s a good way to fight terrorism.” Richard Hartunian had been an assistant U.S. attorney 13 years before being appointed U.S. attorney in Albany, N.Y. Hartunian is three months from retirement. Yesterday, Sessions agreed to let Hartunian stay on through June so he could complete his 20 years. Sessions did the same for Deirdre Daly, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, who will complete 20 years of service in October.

 

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