United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave an order Friday ousting 46 remaining U.S. Attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama — prompting the resignation of the Southern District of Alabama’s own Kenyen Brown.
Appointed by Obama in 2009, now former U.S. Attorney Brown left a position as the director of advice and education on the House Ethics Committee that he’d taken up after working nearly a decade in Washington.
He took office after Obama removed his predecessor, Deborah Rhodes, who had been previously appointed by the administration of former President George W. Bush.
That tradition of political turnover seems to have continued with President Donald J. Trump’s Attorney General, Sessions, who himself was formerly the U.S. Attorney in Mobile.
Monday afternoon, the local office released a statement explaining that Steve Butler, the Chief of the Civil Division in the Southern District of Alabama, had assumed the role of acting U.S. Attorney as of midnight on March 10.Brown, the first African American U.S. Attorney in the history of Alabama, has yet to comment publicly on leaving his post in Mobile.
Tommy Loftis, a spokesperson with the local office said, there’s no indication when or if Brown will comment on the situation.
“We have no idea on a personal level what he’ll put out,” Loftis said. “That probably would not be pushed out by this office because, at this point, he’s no longer the U.S. Attorney.”
According to Loftis, Brown’s resignation went into effect at Midnight last Friday — the same day Sessions called for Brown and 45 others to resign.
The change up also came only a few weeks after Brown’s office secured two landmark convictions of local doctors accused of running an organized pill mill out through their pain clinics in Mobile.
Though the ongoing turnover is somewhat routine within the DOJ after a political changing of the guard, the shakeup under Sessions’ leadership has impacted all three federal court jurisdictions in Alabama.
Joyce Vance, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, resigned on the day President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated in late January, and in addition to Brown, Friday’s directive from the DOJ also prompted the resignation of George Beck, the U.S. Attorney for the middle district.
According to the local office, Butler is a career attorney with the DOJ with over 20 years of service. Working 14 years in the Southern District, Butler has been a First Assistant U.S. Attorney and the Chief of the Civil Division for the past four years.
He’s also served the office’s appellate division and worked as a criminal chief and an assistant U.S. attorney focusing on white-collar crime and public corruption. Butler was also previously a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose in Mobile.
Lagniappe will update this story when more information becomes available.