Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Mike Sullivan, Gone by Monday, Was it Something I Said. ??

US attorney to resign sooner than expected

List of finalists for post not yet sent to Obama

US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, who became Massachusetts' top federal law enforcement official a week after 9/11, plans to resign at midnight Sunday to pursue a private law practice in Boston.

"It has been a privilege to serve as the United States attorney for the District of Massachusetts for the past 7 1/2 years," Sullivan said in a statement. He also served from August 2006 to January 2009 as acting director of the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"I was humbled and grateful for President Bush's confidence in me and for the support I have received from the hard-working and dedicated employees throughout the ATF and at the US attorney's office in the District of Massachusetts," the 54-year-old Republican added.

Christina DiIorio-Sterling, Sullivan's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that her boss "will be practicing in Boston with interest in corporate and white-collar matters," but she declined to be more specific.

His departure comes as little surprise, given that a committee appointed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy has been interviewing potential successors in recent weeks.

But the timing was somewhat unexpected because the committee has not yet recommended any finalists to Kennedy, who is expected to relay his recommendation to President Obama. Several legal observers say it could be months before Obama nominates a successor and the Senate confirms the candidate.

Typically, the first assistant US attorney becomes acting US attorney until a successor is appointed, although that decision is up to US Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., said Ian McCaleb, a Justice Department spokesman in Washington.

Michael K. Loucks is Sullivan's first assistant and has often run the office when Sullivan was serving as acting ATF director in Washington.

The Kennedy committee is expected to recommend three or four finalists to the senator during the last week of April, according to Michael E. Mone, a well-known Boston lawyer who heads the panel.

Several names have been bruited about in legal circles in recent weeks as potential successors, including: Ben T. Clements, chief legal counsel to Governor Deval Patrick; Robert M. Delahunt, a former Norfolk County prosecutor and cousin of US Representative William D. Delahunt; Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Michael B. Keating, a partner at Foley Hoag and former president of the Boston Bar Association; and Alice E. Richmond, a Boston lawyer and former Suffolk County prosecutor and special assistant attorney general.

Others include Martin F. Murphy, another partner at Foley Hoag and former federal prosecutor and first assistant district attorney in Middlesex County; Allison D. Burroughs, a partner at Nutter, McClennen & Fish who served for years as a federal prosecutor; former attorney general Scott Harshbarger; Karen F. Green, a partner at WilmerHale and former federal prosecutor; Ralph J. Cinquegrana, a partner at Choate Hall & Stewart and former federal prosecutor; and Assistant US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.

Richmond yesterday confirmed she wants the job and criticized Sullivan's performance. She said he took a narrow view of his mission and should have more aggressively prosecuted complex financial crimes.

"There's an opportunity to have a financial services department so that the one whistleblower about [accused swindler Bernard] Madoff who was in Boston wouldn't have to go to New York to make the complaint," she said, referring to the Boston accountant Harry Markopolos.

Sullivan, a former Plymouth County district attorney, has been credited during his tenure with building a nationally renowned healthcare fraud unit that has recovered more than $4 billion, much of it from pharmaceutical companies prosecuted for marketing drugs for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

He also prosecuted would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reid, disgraced former FBI agent John Connolly, and numerous corrupt police officers. And he helped lead an effort to capture the fugitive gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, to no avail.

But critics, including at least two federal judges, have publicly said Sullivan gave short shrift to white-collar prosecutions at the expense of small-time, nonviolent drug offenders who used to be prosecuted in state courts. Detractors have also faulted him for insisting that his prosecutors file the most serious provable charges and resist plea bargaining, saying it caused more defendants to go to trial.

US Chief District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf has repeatedly criticized Sullivan for the failure of his prosecutors to disclose evidence that could have cleared defendants.

Historically, the senior senator from the president's party picks nominees to become federal judges, US attorney, and the US marshal in each state, though it is the president who advances the candidates by sending their names to the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation.
Art Hostage comments:

Mike Sullivan will head for the private sector to become a "Gardner Gossip" and try to recover the stolen Gardner art, using his inside knowledge to collect the five milion dollar reward.

More to follow..........

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