FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Deirdre Daly of Fairfield was abruptly ordered by the Trump administration to hand in her resignation as U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut on Friday.
She was one of 46 U.S. attorneys fired without warning Friday.
Daly announced in a statement late Friday that her resignation was effective immediately.
“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as Connecticut’s United States Attorney. In fact, it has been a gift of a lifetime," Daly said. "I am extremely proud of the tremendous accomplishments of the men and women of this office during my tenure. I applaud their tireless work holding our most violent offenders accountable, protecting our children and our environment, standing up for our most vulnerable victims, and not hesitating to stand up to the powerful. Together, we also built bridges and trust with communities. I hope all of this work continues to thrive."
Mike Gustafson will be the acting U.S. attorney, she said.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he was surprised by the move.
“I am deeply saddened and surprised that the Trump Administration has fired Deirdre Daly, one of our nation’s most capable, experienced and dedicated federal prosecutors," Blumenthal said in a statement. "Deidre Daly is a consummate career law enforcement professional whose intellect and integrity, experience and expertise make her a model United States attorney."
Blumenthal questioned the timing of the move by the Trump administration.
"The timing is particularly surprising when no one has been suggested to replace her or the other 45 U.S. attorneys who have been fired," he said. "This sweeping discharge of top prosecutors can only undermine vigorous efforts to combat organized crime, drug dealing, public corruption, hate crimes, espionage, and other crimes that threaten public safety and national security.”
Blumenthal served as the U.S. attorney for the district of Connecticut from 1977 to 1981.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) praised Daly's tenure.
“Presidents have the right to put in place their own U.S. attorneys over the course of their administration, but this sweeping and arbitrary mass firing by President Trump clearly puts politics ahead of the safety of our communities," Murphy said.
"Deirdre Daly has done incredible work defending Connecticut, particularly her focus on combating the sale of heroin across our state. She is totally nonpartisan, and her thoughtless removal makes for a sad day for our state.”
Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney in Manhattan known for prosecuting public corruption cases, was also fired.
“As was the case in prior transitions, many of the United States attorneys nominated by the previous administration already have left the Department of Justice,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement. “The attorney general has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed U.S. attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition."
Other administrations have taken a similar tact. In 1993, the Clinton administration fired all 93 U.S. attorneys in one day, according to the New York Times.
Daly was appointed by President Barack Obama and sworn in May 28, 2014.
She previously served as the U.S. attorney in an acting or interim capacity since May 14, 2013. From July 2010 to May 2013, Daly served as the first assistant U.S. attorney and had oversight of both the criminal and civil divisions.
From 1985 to 1997, Daly was an assistant U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York, where she prosecuted a wide range of cases from racketeering and murder to corruption and fraud. She later served as the assistant-in-charge of the White Plains office for three years.
After leaving the Justice Department, Daly was a partner at Daly & Pavlis, a Connecticut law firm. The practice focuses on corporate and commercial litigation, white-collar criminal investigations, SEC enforcement actions and corporate internal investigations and monitoring.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is charged with enforcing federal criminal laws in Connecticut and representing the federal government in civil litigation. The office includes 63 Assistant U.S. attorneys and 52 staff members at offices in New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport.
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