On Friday, July 10th, Attorney General William Barr announced Seth D. DuCharme, as acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York replacing the outgoing Richard Donoghue who will be taking DuCharme’s current position of Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.
The announcement stated, in part, “The appointment of U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General. Current Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Seth D. DuCharme has been designated as Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (E.D.N.Y.), pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 3345(a)(3). The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York is the chief federal law enforcement officer for a district comprising Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island in New York City, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, with over six million residents“.
“Rich has served with distinction and integrity for many years in the Eastern District of New York, earning a well-deserved reputation throughout New York City and Long Island as an outstanding prosecutor with second-to-none judgment,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Throughout his time as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chief of the Criminal Division for E.D.N.Y., and U.S. Attorney, Rich’s intellect, decisiveness, management style, and dedication to the job has led to him successfully prosecuting many high-profile violent-crime cases (including against MS-13 and other violent gangs), drug trafficking offenses, and white-collar crimes. His experience will be a huge asset to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, and we look forward to working with him here at Main Justice.”
Richard Donoghue was vetting and managing all Ukraine-related efforts by the Justice Department for the EDNY. In an article written by Politico in February, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a January 17th memo he picked Donoghue to take over “several distinct open investigations being handled by different U.S. Attorney’s Offices and/or Department components that in some way potentially relate to Ukraine“. In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and his Republican counterpart, Doug Collins in February, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd said “Donoghue will “coordinate” these activities in the interest of deconfliction and efficiency“. The EDNY has prosecuted several high-profile cases during Donoghue’s tenure, including the conviction of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. DuCharme will be undertaking the EDNY’s cases into Ukraine.
The DOJ statement continued, “Seth DuCharme is a veteran of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and returns to E.D.N.Y. after serving in senior positions at Main Justice. In addition to being Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, from March 2019 to December 2019, Seth served as a Counselor to the Attorney General. In those positions, he worked with the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General to supervise and coordinate the work of all of the Department’s components, including all 93 United States Attorney’s Offices. Additionally, he helped to coordinate national initiatives against transnational organized crime and violent gang elements and worked closely with the Department’s components on countering international terrorism and other national security threats“.
“Seth has served the Department with distinction during his time at Main Justice,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “He is a talented and experienced prosecutor who manages with a steady hand. His experience in prosecuting violent crime, terrorism, and public corruption, will serve him well in his return to New York to lead the office. The Deputy Attorney General and I look forward to working with him in his new role.” He also graduated from Fordham University School of Law, where he was an editor on the Fordham Law Review. DuCharme wrote an interesting piece back in 2002 for Fordham Law Review on “The Search For Reasonableness in Use-Of-Force Cases: Understanding the Effects of Stress on Perception and Performance“.
Changing of the guard today @EDNYnews. Seth D. DuCharme, the new Acting United States Attorney with outgoing USA Richard P. Donoghue who heads to Main Justice on Monday as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General. @USAttorneys pic.twitter.com/D0SP1GWCYl
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) July 10, 2020
These moves follow staff changes in the ranks of federal prosecutors. U.S. Attorney for the Manhattan-based Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman was replaced by New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor, Craig Carpenito, in June with Audrey Strauss as the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District. Berman initially refused to step down and was later fired.