Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday that the Department of Justice, in the largest increase in decades, will allocate 311 new Assistant U.S. Attorneys. In a news release, DOJ stated that it is focusing on priority areas by allocating 190 violent crime prosecutors, 86 civil enforcement prosecutors, and 35 additional immigration prosecutors. Many of the new assistant U.S. attorneys will work in support of the newly created Prescription Interdiction & Litigation Task Force, which targets the opioid crisis.
“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 Attorney General Jeff 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 (AUSA) positions represents the largest increase in decades.”
U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph of the Western District of Louisiana announced that two of these AUSAs will focus on prosecuting violent crime and one will focus on civil enforcement of federal law. “Upon taking office, I promised to aggressively prosecute violent crime throughout the district while ensuring immigration offenses, public corruption, and our efforts to stem the opioid epidemic remain top priorities,” Joseph stated. “These additional prosecutors will assist in achieving our objectives by bringing more criminal prosecutions against those who threaten the safety and wellbeing of our citizens. These positions also give our office more capacity to pursue those who abuse government benefits and otherwise cheat the United States, by bringing civil actions against them. I want to thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the opportunity to hire additional Assistant United States Attorneys to serve the communities in our district. We will work with our federal agencies as well as our state and local partners to ensure we make the most of these added resources.”
“I want to thank Attorney General Sessions for these new federal prosecutors, which will allow us to do even more good work under Project EJECT in the City of Jackson and will help us expand our crime fighting abilities exponentially throughout the Southern District of Mississippi,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst in Mississippi. EJECT stands for “Empower Jackson Expel Crime Together.”
Hurst launched Project EJECT in December to reduce violent crime in Jackson -- Mississippi’s capital. EJECT is DOJ’s Project Safe Neighborhood, which brings together federal, state and local law enforcement. Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of DOJ’s focus on violent crime. In Jackson MS, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has indicted over 50 criminals, whose crimes range from carjacking, narcotics, robberies, and illegal firearms. According to the Jackson Police Department, the violent crime has significantly decreased by almost 25% from this same time in 2017.
In the Southern District, four of the new AUSAs will focus on violent crime and one on affirmative civil enforcement.
“The addition of a new civil prosecutor will also help us go on the offensive in attacking the opioid crisis here at home, as well as holding those who defraud the American taxpayer accountable in our courts," Hurst said in a statement. "Today is a great day for our state and our nation, as these actions will greatly increase the safety of our neighborhoods, enrich the lives of our citizens, and safeguard the American pocketbook.”