Trump Taps New US Attorney for District of Columbia as Timothy Shea Moves to Lead DEA

May 18, 2020 Updated: May 18, 2020

President Trump announced Monday that he has nominated a new U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

Justin Herdman, current U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will replace Timothy Shea.

Herdman received his B.A. from Ohio University in 1996, a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow in 1998, and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 2001.

He has been a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys since 2017. He’s currently the vice-chair of the committee. His role in the committee, along with 14 other U.S. Attorneys, is to develop and offer recommendations to improve management, operations, and functions of United States Attorneys’ offices nationwide, as well as the Department of Justice.

As the permanent replacement, Herdman requires Senate approval. He was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate in 2017 to be the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The Attorney General William Barr applauded the decision.

“I am pleased that the President has chosen Justin Herdman as the nominee to be the next United States Attorney for the District of Columbia,” he said. “Justin has taken an increasing role in the leadership of the Department and this nomination is a reflection his sharp intellect, sound judgment, and dedication to the mission of the Department of Justice.”

Timothy Shea DOJ DEA
This undated photo provided by the Department of Justice shows Timothy Shea, currently U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Shea will become the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and will be replaced by Justin Herdman, the U.S. attorney in Cleveland, who will move into the role as a top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia. (Department of Justice via AP)

Shea will be designated as acting administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Justice Department (DOJ) said in a statement.

The current DEA acting administrator, Uttam Dhillon, will take on a role as a senior official at the Justice Department, DOJ said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia, the largest in the country, has historically been responsible for some of the most significant and politically sensitive cases the DOJ brings in the United States.

In February, Barr and Shea overruled prosecutors in Roger Stone’s case, arguing that an initial recommendation from the prosecutors was excessive. The entire Stone trial team quit the case, and one of the prosecutors left the DOJ altogether.

Shea also signed a motion seeking to drop the charges against Flynn earlier this month. In court papers, the DOJ said a review of the case uncovered troubling legal issues, including what Barr believes were irregularities in the FBI’s 2017 interview of Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to agents about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

The judge presiding over Flynn’s criminal case has appointed a retired jurist to evaluate whether the former Trump administration national security adviser should be held in criminal contempt.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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