Attorney General Jeff Sessions named Richard Donoghue as the interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District — just one day before a deadline to fill the prestigious job. Donoghue is one of 17 who was named to fill existing vacancies. Also named this afternoon was Geoffrey S. Berman, who will temporarily take over the Southern District post.
What’s different between the two nominations, however, is that Trump is expected to permanently nominate Donoghue, who has the support of Sen. Charles Schumer and who is likely to get confirmed by the Senate. As of now, there is uncertainty as to whether Berman will get confirmed by the Senate before his 120 interim appointment expires.
Donoghue, a senior vice president for CA Technologies in Islandia, is best known for his 11-year stint as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District, which covers Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Donoghue succeeds Robert Capers, one of the many U.S. attorneys Trump asked to resign last year. The post has been filled on an acting basis by Bridget Rohde, but her status would have expired by midnight Wednesday, forcing the president to either nominate her or someone else.
Donoghue was one of two people under consideration by the White House, but he was clearly the most popular choice among alumni of the office, local law enforcement officials and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Donoghue formerly headed the criminal division in Brooklyn and prosecuted MS-13 gang cases on Long Island.
The other candidate was Edward McNally, a former Justice Department official and partner in a Manhattan law firm that has represented Trump in his personal matters over the years. However, McNally, who was interviewed at the White House, drew opposition from the start because of his closeness to Trump and fear that he would politicize the office.
The wrangling to fill the Southern District spot continues. None of the candidates suggested by the White House has received any support in the Senate.