The Bush Administration has settled on Thomas O'Brien, chief of the criminal division for the U.S. attorney's office here and a former gang prosecutor in the district attorney's office, to be the top U.S. prosecutor in Los Angeles, the Daily Journal reports in its lead story for Thursday. The paper cites four unidentified sources, but doesn't know why the appointment has not yet been announced.
The Los Angeles office has been waiting for a permanent replacement since Debra Wong Yang resigned in November to join Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as co-chair of the firm's national crisis management practice....Those familiar with his work and career say [O'Brien] has the experience to manage a U.S. attorney's office hobbled by budgetary constraints and an attendant manpower shortage and low morale.
O'Brien, a Republican, joined the U.S. attorney's office in October 2000, moving up to chief of the office's civil rights section in February 2005 and chief of the criminal division in June of the same year. During this tenure, he's prosecuted and investigated a range of crimes, including murder, fraud, human trafficking, police misconduct, narcotics, immigration and child exploitation.
He tried 65 cases, including 35 gang murder cases, during his five years as a deputy district attorney assigned to Los Angeles County's hard-core gang division.
The piece by Robert Iafolla cites sources familiar with the selection process.