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Friday, March 10, 2017

U.S. Attorney Daly Resigns in Trump Ouster

Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut with ties to Westport, today announced her resignation, effective immediately, her office announced.

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U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly addresses the Y’s Men of Westport Weston in October 2014.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

She was one of 46 U.S. attorneys ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to submit their resignations.

It is not unusual for a new president to replace United States attorneys appointed by a predecessor, especially when there has been a change in which party controls the White House, The New York Times reported.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as Connecticut’s United States Attorney,” said Daly in a statement. “In fact, it has been a gift of a lifetime. I am extremely proud of the tremendous accomplishments of the men and women of this office during my tenure.”

A 1977 graduate of Westport’s Greens Farms Academy, she is a Fairfield resident and has made several Westport appearances while in office. The latest was last month to the Y’s Women of Westport.

The Senate confirmed Daly for the post by voice vote in May 2014.  She had been acting U.S. Attorney since May 2013 and earlier was the First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Connecticut since 2010.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson, a career prosecutor, will be the Acting U.S. Attorney, Daly’s office said.

“As was the case in prior transitions, many of the United States attorneys nominated by the previous administration already have left the Department of Justice,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.

“The Attorney General has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed U.S. attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition.”

Daly was the first woman nominated by a president to serve as U.S. attorney for Connecticut,

Daly was a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York for 12 years before entering private practice. She returned to federal service in 2010 as the top assistant to U.S. Attorney David Fein in Connecticut.

Among the high-profile cases during her tenure was the prosecution of former Gov. John G. Rowland in September 2014 on charges arising from what the government described as a scheme to solicit two congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012 to secretly pay him as a political consultant in violation of U.S. campaign finance laws.

Daly promoted Gustafson from head of the criminal division to the first assistant a month later.

She created a public corruption task force in 2015.

An investigation by her office into whether Connecticut Democrats illegally raised money from state contractors in support of the re-election of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2014 ended last month without criminal charges.

“In his long tenure in the office, Mike has distinguished himself as someone with excellent judgment and outstanding character,” Daly said then. “A terrific prosecutor and enormously dedicated public servant, Mike is an invaluable asset to me and everyone who works here.”

Gustafson has been a federal prosecutor since 1997. He served as a law clerk to Senior U.S. District Judge T. Emmet Clarie and U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Owen Eagan.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a former Connecticut attorney general as well as U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut (1977-81) and a sharp critic of Trump and Sessions, complained that Daly and her 45 colleagues were being fired.

“I am deeply saddened and surprised that the Trump Administration has fired Deirdre Daly, one of our nation’s most capable, experienced and dedicated federal prosecutors,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

“The timing is particularly surprising when no one has been suggested to replace her or the other 45 U.S. Attorneys who have been fired.

“This sweeping discharge of top prosecutors can only undermine vigorous efforts to combat organized crime, drug dealing, public corruption, hate crimes, espionage, and other crimes that threaten public safety and national security.”

—Ctmirror.org contributed to this story.

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Posted 03/10/17 at 07:21 PM  Permalink



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