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Top Bay Area Prosecutor Exits Office

  • David Anderson, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, departed his post this week after two years in the role

  • Anderson led a number of high-profile cases, including a sweeping corruption probe targeting San Francisco public officials, contractors and businesspeople, and charged a record number of cases in 2019

  • The office continues to invest heavy resources in the public corruption probe, Anderson told Public Comment in a recent interview

David Anderson, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California who led a number of high-profile cases during a two-year tenure, exited his post on Friday.

Anderson's departure was expected as part of the routine turnover process in the event of a new presidential administration, with appointees to the Department of Justice often opting to assign new U.S. Attorneys. Anderson indicated he would be stepping down earlier this month.

During his time in the post, Anderson led a sweeping corruption probe of San Francisco public officials, an initiative targeting organized crime in the Tenderloin district, and charges of right-wing, anti-government extremists from the Boogaloo movement, among numerous other cases. Anderson's office brought a record number of charges in 2019, spanning tax evasion, corporate espionage, drug trafficking and fraud, though that charging volume dipped for a period of time in the pandemic.

In San Francisco, the federal corruption probe implicated a broad range of players from many corners of government. Those indicted include Mohammed Nuru, former head of Public Works; permit expediter Walter Wong; former head of the Public Utilities Commission Harlan Kelly; former Recology executive Paul Giusti; and City contractor Florence Kong, who was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison for, among other infractions, plying Nuru for public contracts with a $36,500 Rolex watch.

Former City Administrator Naomi Kelly and former Department of Building Inspection head Tom Hui also resigned in the course of the investigation.

The public corruption probe in San Francisco is expected to continue, and Anderson told Public Comment in a recent interview that the U.S. Attorney's office "continue(s) to invest heavily in the investigation."

"In public corruption, as in other areas, if you see highly visible criminal conduct as a prosecutor, naturally you suspect that there is deeper conduct that is less highly visible," he said. "If you see the tractor, or the watch, or the adornments of various're looking for deeper flows of money."

A new U.S. Attorney for the Northern District is expected to be appointed in the coming days.

Among the leading candidates for the position are Latham & Watkins' Leslie Caldwell, Ramsey & Ehrlich LLP's Ismail Ramsey and DLA Piper's Lisa Kutzkey-Tenorio.

In the interim, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds will be leading the office.

Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

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