U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray, a veteran Charlotte legal professional nominated by President Donald Trump to be Western North Carolina’s high federal prosecutor, will leave the place by the end of the month.
Murray introduced his departure from his post in the Western District of North Carolina in a press release Tuesday afternoon:
“It has been a privilege to serve the people of the Western District and I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such an extraordinary group of consummate, dedicated and experienced public servants,” Murray mentioned. “I am proud of our accomplishments and our collective hard work to protect communities across the district and to seek justice.”
Murray’s exit is a routine a part of the switch of presidential energy. Last week, the U.S. Justice Department below the brand new administration of President Joe Biden introduced that every one U.S. attorneys appointed by Trump have been to submit their resignations. Sources mentioned the exit date was Feb. 28.
Murray, a lifelong Republican and former Mecklenburg County District Attorney, might be one in every of three high federal prosecutors in North Carolina that Biden should substitute. The U.S. attorneys in the Middle and Eastern districts will even be leaving workplace.
Robert Higdon, the highest prosecutor in the Eastern District, introduced his departure final week.
Nominated by Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Murray took over the workplace in November 2017, directing a employees of 80 prosecutors and employees that operated in Charlotte and Asheville. The Western District of North Carolina covers 32 counties and the Cherokee Reservation, an space of some 3 million residents.
Days into his job four years ago, the retired Coast Guard officer mentioned he would take his orders from above, and that his priorities lined up with these of Trump and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions: combating violent crime, gang violence, drug and human trafficking, unlawful immigration.
“I understand I have leadership above me, and those priorities will be enforced regardless how I align with them,” mentioned Murray, who retired from the Coast Guard in 2016 after a 35-year profession. “However, I align very well with those priorities, and I look forward to enforcing them.”
Murray did simply that, with his workplace focusing a lot of its sources on conventional public issues of safety as gangs, violent crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking and the brand new enviornment of COVID-fraud.
But a few of his greatest successes concerned much more high-profile prosecutions of white-collar abuses: the $3 billion settlement with Wells Fargo over its predatory gross sales practices. In a press release at the time of settlement, Murray mentioned the monetary penalty was applicable “given the staggering size, scope and duration of Wells Fargo’s illicit conduct.”
Murray’s prosecutors additionally helped attain an antitrust settlement with Atrium Health in 2018.
On the felony facet, Murray went after members of his personal political celebration by efficiently convicting billionaire businessman Greg Lindberg and others in the tried bribery of State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.
As a part of the conspiracy, a few of bribes have been channeled via the state Republican Party with the participation of Robin Hayes, the GOP celebration chairman at the time and a former longtime congressman.
To keep away from a jail sentence, Hayes pleaded responsible to a lesser felony cost as was given probation. He was pardoned by Trump mere hours earlier than the defeated president left workplace.
Lindberg has begun his 87-month jail sentence whereas interesting his conviction.
Murray’s workplace additionally efficiently prosecuted David Lewis, a longtime member of the Republican management of the N.C. General Assembly. Lewis resigned his seat and later pleaded responsible to tax and financial institution fraud-related prices.