Feb. 8, 2013 05:18

Eastern District position became open when longtime U.S. Attorney Jim Letten resigned in December after two top deputies became embroiled in a scandal that threatens to undermine some of his biggest cases.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is recommending New Orleans native Kenneth Polite Jr. for the position of U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

President Barack Obama will consider the suggestion and make the appointment.

The position opened up in December when longtime U.S. Attorney Jim Letten resigned in the aftermath of a scandal in which two of his top deputies admitted to making anonymous online comments, conduct that now threatens some of the district's biggest corruption cases.

Landrieu's press release is below:

"In no other place in America have people demonstrated a greater strength, resiliency and drive to remake their lives than those living here in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes," said Landrieu. "For the region to continue to build and thrive, it is imperative that we have a strong and proven crime fighter to protect the citizens of the Eastern District and root out corruption where it exists so that New Orleans remains the entrepreneurial capital of the nation.

"Mr. Polite is part of the next generation of dynamic leaders who are committed to ushering in that change. He believes in the potential of our region and understands that establishing and nurturing the public trust will be critical to this effort. His legal experience and years as a prosecutor, combined with his stellar academic credentials, quickly elevated him to the top of an impressive field of candidates. I am delighted to recommend him as the next U.S. attorney for our state's Eastern District."

Throughout his career as a federal prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and corporate litigator, Mr. Polite's experience includes jury trials, internal investigations, regulatory and administrative proceedings, and extensive motion practice. A New Orleans native, Mr. Polite currently serves as an attorney with Liskow and Lewis, where he practices in the areas of business litigation, appellate advocacy, government investigations and white-collar criminal defense. Prior to joining Liskow, Mr. Polite served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where served as lead counsel in numerous investigations and prosecutions of federal criminal offenses, including bribery, extortion, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and identity theft. In addition to several jury trial convictions in the areas of public corruption and organized crime, Mr. Polite's experience as a federal prosecutor includes successfully briefing and arguing several cases before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Polite practiced for six years in the New York office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. A graduate of Harvard University, and cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Mr. Polite clerked for the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Mr. Polite represents a true success story for the city of New Orleans. He was born at Charity Hospital to teenage parents, reared during his early childhood by family and caregivers in the Calliope and Lafitte housing projects, and raised in the Lower Ninth Ward. Despite their humble beginnings, Mr. Polite's family taught him that education would be the only path out of poverty. Following his formative years at Epiphany Elementary School, Mr. Polite attended De La Salle High School in New Orleans, where each year he won a competitively-awarded full academic scholarship. Among his numerous distinctions and awards, Mr. Polite was named Student Body President, Louisiana Boys State Governor, and Class Valedictorian, the first African-American to attain that distinction in the school's history.

Mr. Polite is active in the local community, serving in leadership positions for a variety of regional organizations, including the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Commission, Breakthrough New Orleans, the Louisiana State Civil Service Commission, Young Leadership Council, the Pro Bono Project, and the New Orleans College Prep Charter School.

Sen. Landrieu's recommendation of Mr. Polite quickly garnered the support of well-regarded members of the regional community, including:

Boysie Bollinger, President and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards: "Kenneth Polite has all of the necessary qualifications, background and experience to do a terrific job as the next U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Senator Landrieu has made an excellent choice."

Edgar "Dooky" Chase III, Local Attorney and Dillard University Professor: "Senator Landrieu's nomination of Attorney Kenneth Polite as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District in New Orleans is an assertive and responsive choice to the continuing need to fight crime of all kind in our community."

Rafael Goyeneche III, Managing Director/President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission: "Kenneth Polite possesses all the tangible attributes both personally and professionally that make him a qualified candidate for this appointment. However it is Ken's intangibles that include leadership ability, communication skills and his desire to serve that set him apart."

Rev. Fred Luter Jr., Pastor of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church and President of the Southern Baptist Convention: "Kenneth Polite is the right person, at the right time, for the right job. He has the moral compass, intellect and wisdom to represent the United States and the citizens of the Eastern District of Louisiana with great humility and a steadfast commitment to justice for all."

Newell Normand, Jefferson Parish Sheriff: "Kenneth Polite has the experience, maturity and skill set necessary to effectively lead the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Equally important, he has a temperament that will make it easy for him to work successfully with state, local and federal agencies as well as community leaders. I congratulate Senator Landrieu on her choice."

Harry Rosenberg, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana: "Having had the privilege of serving as U.S. Attorney and working with many other U.S. Attorneys, I have a sense of the challenges and needs of that office. After working with Kenneth for a number of years, I am confident that upon confirmation he will be a true asset for federal law enforcement and the public."

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