Neil MacBride, whose office successfully prosecuted a number of public officials, 26 Somali pirates and several high-profile terrorism cases, will step down from his position as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in September.
MacBride's office announced this week that he would leave the district effective Sept. 13. An acting U.S. Attorney, who has not been named yet, will be appointed to handle cases until the Senate confirms a permanent replacement for the district. The Eastern District of Virginia covers Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Tidewater region and surrounding communities.
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“It has been a dream job to serve as U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia for the last four years,” MacBride said in a statement released by his office. “My first job as a lawyer was clerking for Judge Henry Morgan here 21 years ago, and my wife and I have lived and raised our children in this District. "
President Barack Obama appointed MacBride in Sept. 2009 to a four-year term.
Over the next four years, attorneys from the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted a number of high-profile terrorism cases, including Amine el-Khalifi, who planed to carry out a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol. MacBride's office also obtained a conviction for Farooque Ahmed, who plotted to bomb the metro rail system.
Several public officials were convicted of various offenses during MacBride's term. U.S. Congressman William Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in prison for bribery and illegal conduct. Virginia Secretary of Finance John Forbes II was convicted for wire fraud, and former Virginia House Delegate Phillip Hamilton was found guilty of bribery and extortion.
Notably, prosecutors from MacBride's office were also able to obtain the first high-seas piracy convictions since 1820 for 26 Somali pirates.
MacBride leaves at a time when his office is investigating a number of high-profile cases, including a probe into Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's finances. His office would also have jurisdiction in prosecuting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post on controversial internet and telephone surveillance programs.