David Freed, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, will resign effective midnight on Jan. 1, 2021, his office announced Dec. 29.
Freed was appointed to his position by President Donald Trump after being nominated by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
In a statement, Freed said he has been “enormously privileged to be able to serve my fellow citizens, first as a young prosecutor in York County, then later in several positions in Cumberland County including 12 years as district attorney, and finally as the United States attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.”
“I have done my best to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice to my fellow citizens in a fair, effective, and efficient manner,” he said, adding that he’s grateful to Trump, Toomey, Casey, and Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions.
Freed announced in September that discarded mail-in ballots, most for Trump, were found in Luzerne County. Federal investigators, including Freed’s office and the FBI, were probing what happened.
County officials confirmed that they’d uncovered the potential voter fraud after the disclosure by Freed. They said they had alerted federal officials to what happened.
In a letter to Shelby Watchilla, Luzerne County director of elections, Freed said the FBI recovered nine discarded military ballots, seven of which were cast for Trump, and four apparently official mail-in ballot envelopes. Most of the recorded materials were found in a dumpster outside the ballot counting building.
County officials later placed the blame for the situation on a contractor, who they said had been fired. The contractor didn’t appear to have been charged with a crime.
“From the initial reports we’ve been given, this was a bad error,” Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, said during an online news conference in late September.
Freed’s office declined to comment when asked whether the investigation was finished and what investigators had found. Luzerne County officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
New presidents typically fire U.S. attorneys and install new ones. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has declared victory in the 2020 election and is preparing to enter office, though Trump and other Republicans are challenging election results and getting ready to object to votes from some states during the upcoming joint session of Congress.
First Assistant United States Attorney Bruce Brandler, who has been with the office for more than 30 years, will take over the U.S. attorney position upon Freed’s departure, pursuant to the Vacancies Reform Act.