U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill plans to leave the Middle District of Florida office next month to join former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s risk management firm.
A veteran Assistant U.S. Attorney, O’Neill has worked in the Tampa-based district since 1993. O’Neill served as chief of the office’s Criminal Division from 2002 until 2007, and chief of the Special Prosecutions Section and Public Corruption Section from 1999 to 2001. He also served at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami from 1986 until 1990. Before that, he was an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan under legendary D.A. Robert Morgenthau from 1982 to 1986.
“He really instilled in us a creed about what was right and what was wrong,” O’Neill told Main Justice about Morgenthau.
O’Neill said he decided to join the Freeh Group after getting a call from CEO Jim Bucknam, who he had worked with back in the DA’s office.
“We had not seen each other or talked since then and he went on to be a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York,” O’Neill said. “What really motivated me more than anything was the ability to work with really outstanding folks like Jim.”
O’Neill praised the Tampa U.S. Attorney’s Office and said increased hiring over the past few years has helped stave off the effects of the sequestration.
“It’s a great office. We’re really firing on all cylinders and the department has been very good to us,” he said. “We were able to hire a number of Assistant U.S. Attorneys over the last couple of years, which has helped us out a lot during the sequester.”
While a U.S. Attorney candidate, O’Neill faced criticism from former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Del Fuoco, who accused him of defamation and compromising investigations. O’Neill, who has spent 17 years in the Middle District, became a finalist for U.S. Attorney in July 2009 and then waited almost a year for President Barack Obama to nominate him.
O’Neill replaced A. Brian Albritton, who had served as U.S. Attorney since 2008.