PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — United States Attorney William McSwain announced he will resign next week as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office. McSwain has served as the chief federal law enforcement officer in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since April 6, 2018. He will step down on Jan. 22, 2021.
“I want to thank President Trump for appointing me as U.S. Attorney, Senators Toomey and Casey for recommending me for the position, and Attorneys General Barr and Sessions for leading the Department of Justice during my service,” McSwain said in a statement. “I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as U.S. Attorney in the District in which I have lived most of my life, in the City in which I was born, and in the Office where I learned to be a trial lawyer as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. My overriding focus as U.S. Attorney was on pursuing justice in order to protect the community. I gave this job all that I had – all day, every day. While we’ve had many significant accomplishments during my tenure, the credit for these successes belongs to the hardworking, dedicated professionals at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners. For an attorney, there is no greater professional privilege than to represent the United States of America. I will miss it dearly.”
The EDPA is one of the largest U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the country, serving nearly six million in Philadelphia and its eight surrounding counties.
U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
His resignation is a normal part of the presidential transition.
McSwain will be staying in the Philadelphia area as he returns to private law practice.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams will become Acting U.S. Attorney when McSwain steps down.
McSwain sparred frequently during his tenure with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, an advocate of criminal justice reform.
McSwain pursued federal charges against Black Lives Matters activists who clashed with police during summer protests, blamed Krasner’s progressive policies for an uptick in gun violence, and fought plans for a nonprofit group to open a medically supervised drug injection site.
And he rarely minced words.
When a federal appeals court ruled this week that the proposed drug injection clinic, aimed at reducing the city’s grim rate of overdose deaths, would run afoul of federal drug laws, McSwain cheered that Philadelphia would not become “the birthplace of heroin injection sites.”
McSwain has led the office since April 2018. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams will step into the job until President-elect Joe Biden names a replacement.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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