by Ron Gregory
CHARLESTON – Southern District U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart announced today a nearly 15 percent increase in new prosecutors approved by the Trump administration. In a press release, Stuart noted that on the 500th day of the Trump presidency, he and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a dramatic increase in resources to combat violent crime, enforce immigration laws and help roll back the opioid crisis.
“Today, I am extremely pleased to announce that the Southern District of West Virginia has been allocated a nearly 15 percent increase in new prosecutors which represents the largest percentage increase of any district in the nation,” said Stuart. “It is not only the largest increase in the country but the largest allocation of new prosecutors in the history of the Southern District of West Virginia. It is a strong, strong endorsement of my efforts to combat the opioid crisis, violent crime, and corruption throughout southern West Virginia.
In the largest increase in decades, the Department of Justice is allocating 311 new Assistant United States Attorneys to assist in priority areas. Those allocations are as follows: 190 violent crime prosecutors, 86 civil enforcement prosecutors and 35 additional immigration prosecutors. Many of the civil enforcement AUSA’s will support the newly created Prescription Interdiction & Litigation Task Force which targets the opioid crisis at every level of the distribution system.
“Under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration, and the opioid crisis—and today we are sending in reinforcements,” said Sessions. “We have a saying in my office that a new federal prosecutor is ‘the coin of the realm.’ When we can eliminate wasteful spending, one of my first questions to my staff is if we can deploy more prosecutors to where they are needed. I have personally worked to re-purpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher. These exceptional and talented prosecutors are key leaders in our crime fighting partnership. This addition of new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions represents the largest increase in decades.”
In the Southern District of West Virginia, three new AUSAs will focus on violent crime and one on civil enforcement. At this time, no determination has been made as to whether new prosecutors will be assigned to the Bluefield, Beckley, Charleston or Huntington field offices.
“At a time of amazing economic challenge and a declining West Virginia population, one could argue for a reallocation of resources from this region to other faster-growing regions of the country,” said Stuart. “Rather than contracting, however, Washington has taken note of our hard work and strong performance and rewarded us with a record number of new prosecutors. I appreciate Attorney General Session’s confidence very much. We’ve developed a great partnership. Every new prosecutor will be put to work in support of the people of our amazing state and hard-working taxpayers.”
Stuart added, “We will use these new positions to intensify our approach to apprehending and locking up drug thugs and violent criminals, prosecuting white collar crime and public corruption, and super-charging an offensive-minded civil practice. I have been on offense since the day I got here and these new reinforcements will super-charge my efforts.”