CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — U.S. Attorney John Lausch said he is "honored" and "grateful" to stay in his position as Chicago's top federal prosecutor, after the White House confirmed he won't be forced to resign as originally planned.
"I have been honored to serve as U.S Attorney, and I am grateful for the opportunity to remain in this position. I am humbled by the support I have received, which reflects the outstanding work being done by the 300 members of the U.S. Attorney's Office and our partners," Lausch said in a statement Monday afternoon. "I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to lead this extraordinary team of attorneys and professional staff, and we look forward to continue working with our partners to pursue justice on behalf of the people of the Northern District of Illinois."
After President Joe Biden took office in January, the Justice Department called on all U.S. Attorneys appointed by President Donald Trump, with two exceptions, to submit their resignations by Feb. 28. But on Sunday the White House announced that Lausch would remain in his post, becoming the third exception.
"In very limited exceptions, including the Northern District of Illinois, the administration has opted not to seek new candidates for U.S. Attorney positions at this time," a White House official said.
It is common for presidents to ask for the resignations of U.S. attorneys appointed by the opposite political party.
Lausch was nominated by Trump, a Republican, and confirmed by the Senate in November 2017.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois' two Democratic U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, had called for Biden to keep Lausch on the job until his successor was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The White House statement suggests it went a step further by saying there will be no search for a successor "at this time." Lausch's four-year term ends in November.
Durbin, Duckworth, Lightfoot and others sought for Lausch to remain on the job to continue overseeing multiple public corruption prosecutions and investigations of top Democrats.
Under Lausch's leadership, federal prosecutors in Chicago have brought charges in several prominent corruption cases, including a sweeping bribery case against ComEd, which implicated former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who was forced to give up the speaker's gavel last month when it became clear House Democrats wouldn't re-elect him. Madigan has since resigned his House seat and his position as chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
Madigan has not been charged with a crime, but four former ComEd executives and lobbyists -- including ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggirore and former lobbyist and longtime Madigan confidante Michael McClain -- have been indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges in connection with the scheme. They pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. That followed the September guilty plea by a former ComEd vice president, Fidel Marquez.
Lausch's office also got indictments against former Illinois State Sen. Martin Sandoval, who pleaded guilty to acting as a protector for red light camera company SafeSpeed in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes before passing away from COVID last year; against Chicago Ald. Edward Burke (14th), who is awaiting trial on racketeering, bribery, and extortion charges; and other Illinois politicians still facing trial in other corruption cases.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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