By Karen Freifeld, Sarah N. Lynch and Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, New York, is moving to high-ranking post at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, giving Attorney General William Barr a chance to put a fresh stamp on another of the nation’s top prosecutors’ offices.
Richard Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York since January 2018, will become principal associate deputy attorney general, reporting to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, a spokesman said.
Donoghue will work closely with the more than 90 U.S. attorneys around the country. He announced his departure to staff earlier Thursday. No successor was named.
The Eastern District includes the counties of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau and Suffolk.
Donoghue’s move follows the June 20 ouster of Geoffrey Berman as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, covering Manhattan and several other counties.
Barr tapped Jay Clayton, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, to replace Berman. Audrey Strauss is serving as acting U.S. attorney while Clayton awaits possible confirmation.
Donoghue’s stature appeared to rise in January when Rosen tapped him to oversee and vet tips related to Ukraine in the wake of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, according to a memo released to Congress. Trump was acquitted.
Barr has said the vetting process was a means to scrutinize tips by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are handling the campaign finance cases against two associates of Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.
The Justice Department could not immediately be reached for comment. Donoghue was unavailable to comment.
Since taking office, Donoghue has overseen several high-profile prosecutions.
These have included a bank fraud and trade secret theft case against China’s Huawei Technologies Co and the convictions of accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and accused Nxivm sex cult leader Keith Raniere.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Stempel in New York, Sarah N. Lynch in Washington, D.C. and Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Leslie Adler and Aurora Ellis)
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