United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama Richard Moore released a statement Friday on the unsurprising resignation of Jeff Sessions earlier this week, calling the ousted Attorney General a leader and “a friend.”

Sessions resigned upon request of President Donald Trump hours after the midterm elections.

It was the end to a tumultuous relationship between the two that began when the former Alabama Senator recused himself for overseeing a Department of Justice investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election.

After accepting the resignation on Nov. 7, Trump appointed  Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, to serve as his acting replacement, and almost simultaneously, Whitaker moved to remove Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein from overseeing the ongoing Russia investigation.

Richard Moore: U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama

While Sessions only led DOJ for 19 months, Moore said his former boss quickly “won the respect and loyalty of prosecutors and law enforcement officers across the country” by focusing the department’s efforts reducing violent crime and addressing the nation’s opioid crisis.

You can read Moore’s full statement below:

As the first Alabamian to serve as the Nation’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions won the respect and loyalty of prosecutors and law enforcement officers across the Country. He was extremely active and personally invested in the work of prosecutors in 93 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and at Main Justice in Washington D.C.

Under his leadership, violent crime has started to go back down after several years of increases that Attorney General Sessions correctly warned could not be ignored. He motivated prosecutors and law enforcement officials to unite in an aggressive strategy to make our streets safer and he was successful in leading that effort.  

In addition to reducing violent crime, Attorney General Sessions led the Department of Justice’s efforts in addressing the heroin and opioid crisis, combating transnational criminal organizations and reducing illegal immigration.

Jeff Sessions is an effective and inspirational leader who motivated not only U.S. attorneys, but also the law enforcement officers who we work with every day.  

Having been a federal prosecutor himself he understood the day-to-day challenges that prosecutors and agents face.  He continued to remind us that this work is not just a job but a “sacred task….to secure the equal rights of citizens.”  Under his leadership, the Department of Justice broke records for violent crime, firearm, and illegal immigration prosecutions.  

In the Southern District of Alabama, we have dramatically increased our prosecutions that are a direct result of AG Sessions’ aggressive policies and expectations. At the same time, survey results of employees showed that the morale of employees in U.S. Attorney’s Offices improved significantly over prior years.

On a personal level, I have had the opportunity to prosecute cases with Jeff Sessions when he was the U.S. Attorney here in the Southern District of Alabama and for the past year to serve as an advisor to him as Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.  

He has been rightly described by U.S. attorneys as a “prosecutor’s prosecutor” because he was a skilled adversary in the courtroom and a highly principled lawyer.  Above all, the most common attribute associated with Jeff Sessions has always been “integrity.”

He is a mentor and friend who will be dearly missed.

We will continue to pursue the rule of law priorities of President Trump and I look forward to working under the leadership of Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.