Pat Fitzgerald isn’t the only prominent Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney being asked to stay on in the Obama administration, at least temporarily. Alex Acosta, a Federalist Society member and former acting head of the civil rights division at DOJ, will stay on in Miami for now, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
Acosta earned accolades for vigorous prosecution of health care fraud and public corruption. He also deployed a rarely used 1994 law to prosecute the son of the former president of Liberia for torture. Chuckie Taylor Jr.’s mistake was to stop over at Miami International Airport, where he was detained. Acosta is a leading candidate for dean of Florida International University’s law school. Read an interview with Acosta here.
The Obama administration has asked all Bush-appointed US Attorneys to stay on until successors are confirmed. It could have, as the Clinton administration did in 1993, asked for blanket resignations and used Assistant US Attorneys to hold down the forts in the 93 federal prosecutor offices around the country until new leaders were confirmed.
But the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys asked the Obama administration in a Dec. 16 letter to spare their offices such turmoil, given how much the Bush administration had already rocked their world. The group endorsed keeping the current USAs on the job. “This model is less political, leaves each United States Attorney’s Office in the hands of stable, experienced leadership working under the direction of the Attorney General, and allows for an orderly transition between United States Attorneys,” the letter read. Currently 54 Bush-appointed US Attorneys remain in office, the Miami Herald says, citing DOJ figures.