Attorney General William Barr on Jan. 30 named Timothy Shea as the next top prosecutor in Washington.
Shea, one of Barr’s closest advisers, will replace Jessie Liu as she leaves office Friday, and will officially begin his role on Feb. 3.
As the attorney in the District of Columbia, Shea will lead the largest U.S. attorney’s office in the country, which has been historically responsible for some of the most significant and politically sensitive cases that the Justice Department brings in the country.
Shea is a senior counselor to the attorney general and was Barr’s right-hand man in helping institute reforms at the federal Bureau of Prisons after Jeffrey Epstein’s death at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.
When he begins his new role next week, he will be overseeing some of the lingering cases from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, along with several politically charged investigations.
“Tim brings to this role extensive knowledge and expertise in law enforcement matters as well as an unwavering dedication to public service, reflected in his long and distinguished career in state and federal government,” Barr said in a statement. “His reputation as a fair prosecutor, skillful litigator, and excellent manager is second-to-none, and his commitment to fighting violent crime and the drug epidemic will greatly benefit the city of Washington.”
Shea has served in a variety of roles in the Justice Department. During his time as assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia from 1992-1997, he prosecuted violent crime, drug trafficking, fraud cases, and public corruption cases. He also spearheaded the task force responsible for tackling violent crime at the District of Columbia correctional facilities at Lorton.
He also worked as a congressional staffer in the House and Senate.
Shea, a Boston-area native who comes from a family of first responders, is widely seen as being able to bridge the gap between law enforcement officials and the community, especially in Washington.
“He’s the definitive public servant,” said Jim Pasco, the executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police. “He has a real reverence for the law and a real dedication to making communities safer.”
He previously received praise from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who chaired the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and worked on the staff of the House Appropriations Committee when Shea was the chief counsel.
Shea “did an outstanding job leading in-depth investigations into issues ranging from consumer protection to government waste, fraud, and abuse,” Collins said in a statement. “With his decades of legal experience in both the private and public sectors, Tim has a wealth of knowledge that will serve him well in his new role.”
Shea will take over the office, which has more than 300 federal prosecutors handling both local and federal crimes in the nation’s capital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.