Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report
Weeks after the firing of former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, a top Washington deputy to U.S. Attorney General William Barr is under consideration to replace an outgoing prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, CNN reported.
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue announced Thursday he would leave the Eastern District to serve as the Justice Department’s principal associate deputy attorney general, a spokesman told CNN. His predecessor in the Washington-based role, Seth DuCharme, is a favorite to replace him in New York, according to the network.
DuCharme, before assuming the deputy position last year, had served as a counselor to Barr on criminal and national security measures, although he also spent years as a prosecutor in the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office, according to CNN.
The Justice Department put Donoghue in charge of agency investigations involving Ukraine in February, although it remains unclear whether DuCharme would continue them, CNN reported.
The announcement of Donoghue’s departure comes weeks after the Justice Department announced the ouster of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Berman pushed back on the announcement, saying he did not intend to resign unless a replacement was confirmed by the Senate, prompting Barr to fire him.
Barr had named Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Jay Clayton as Berman’s replacement, but Berman’s deputy Audrey Strauss has since replaced him on an acting basis.
The chain of succession in the Eastern District office could also complicate any plans for Barr to name a chosen successor, as the office protocols would dictate Donoghue’s deputy, first assistant U.S. attorney Mark Lesko, as his replacement, according to CNN. Both Berman and Donoghue were initially named to their posts by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and later permanently appointed by a federal judge.
The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.