The chief federal law enforcement officer for the Eastern District announced Monday that he will be stepping down.
Seth DuCharme, 50, who became the acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District in July after a long career as a federal prosecutor and before that as a deputy United States Marshal, said he was resigning on March 19 to go into private practice.
"My guiding principles have been to serve others and to do my best to go where I am needed most," DuCharme said in a statement. " After having had the opportunities to serve at so many levels, from junior AUSA, to close adviser to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, and most recently as Acting U.S. Attorney, I am now thrilled to be spending more time with my family, and to transitioning thoughtfully and successfully into private practice."
DuCharme said he would be succeeded as acting United States Attorney by his first Assistant Mark Lesko.
Lesko, a longtime assistant United States Attorney and former deputy head of the office’s criminal division on Long Island, has had a varied career. He was elected three times as Supervisor of the Town of Brookhaven, and is a former vice president for economic development at Hofstra University and head of Accelerate, a multi-organization effort to foster biotech companies on Long Island.
A spokesman for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer, Angelo Roefaro, said that the process is just getting underway to select a permanent United States Attorney for the Eastern District, which includes federal court cases in Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. DuCharme, who was appointed under a Republican administration, was expected to eventually step down.
DuCharme, who is a rifle and bow hunter and who writes poetry that he has performed, made a name for himself as a prosecutor in anti-terrorism cases by heading an effort to get younger suspects to turn away from involvement in groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
Among DuCharme’s actions as the head of the Eastern District were expanding the use of crime data to identify and prosecute violent armed criminals and organizations, and a new task force to investigate and prosecute the money-laundering of criminal proceeds through the banking system.
James Gatta, a former colleague of DuCharme’s in the Eastern District now in private practice, said Monday: " Seth was the quintessential EDNY AUSA — smart and driven, but always guided by a commitment to fairness and empathy, qualities that he took with him from Brooklyn to Washington … his creativity as a prosecutor set him apart. "
"We have a talented and qualified pool of candidates that we ae interviewing and processing," Roefaro said.
The Eastern District has about 175 federal prosecutors in its offices in Central Islip and Brooklyn, who work with federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE).