One of the few remaining U.S. Attorneys who was appointed by President George W. Bush and remains on the job was missing from a Justice Department headquarters news conference on Monday announcing a major public corruption prosecution in her district.
Leura Canary, who has led Middle District of Alabama U.S. Attorney’s Office since 2001, did not join her Justice Department colleagues in Washington as they announced that they had charged 11 individuals in Alabama, including the owner of the state’s largest casino and four state lawmakers, as part of a public corruption probe involving a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that would legalize electronic bingo. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Criminal Division, FBI Assistant Director Kevin Perkins of the Criminal Investigative Division and FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Fuhrman of the Mobile, Ala., Division spoke at the news conference.
Breuer said Assistant U.S. Attorneys Louis V. Franklin and Steve P. Feaga from the Middle District of Alabama are assisting in the prosecution. But the Assistant Attorney General said the U.S. Attorney’s office is otherwise recused from the case. He declined to comment on the reason for the recusal.
“Two of her lawyers have worked on our team, but all the direction has come from here, the Criminal Division,” Breuer said.
Canary’s office led the successful and controversial corruption prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D). She recused herself from that case and Franklin oversaw the prosecution.
News conferences at DOJ headquarters often include U.S. Attorneys when announcements there involve significant cases in the prosecutors’ districts. Breuer said her appointment by Bush “isn’t relevant” to DOJ decisions made about the case.
Canary is one of eight Bush U.S. Attorneys who are still in office. President Barack Obama has yet to nominate her replacement.