U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur, who had scored a series of high-profile political corruption convictions and launched anti-gang initiatives in Baltimore, is resigning as chief federal prosecutor in Maryland.
Hur said Wednesday that he will resign his post Feb. 15 and be replaced on an interim basis by assistant Jonathan F. Lenzner.
Hur’s resignation enables President Joe Biden to nominate a new U.S. attorney for Maryland, subject to U.S. Senate confirmation. Hur was appointed U.S. attorney three years ago by Donald Trump, Biden’s immediate predecessor, succeeding longtime U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod Rosenstein.
Hur’s office had obtained convictions in several notable political corruption cases, among them:
- Former Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh,
- Former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa,
- Former Del. Cheryl Glenn,
- Former Del. Tawanna Gaines,
- Members of the Baltimore City Police Department in connection with the Gun Trace Task Force investigation, and
- Correctional officers at numerous state correctional facilities, including Eastern Correctional Institution, Jessup Correctional Institution, Maryland Correctional Institute Jessup, and Chesapeake Detention Facility.
Hur had also made violent crime in Baltimore a top priority, launching several initiatives aimed at curbing the historically high levels of gun violence driven by drug-trafficking organizations in the city. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies launched the Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force, aimed at disrupting and dismantling the most violent gangs and their financial infrastructure in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
“I will always be grateful to have served as U.S. Attorney and helped further the Office’s proud legacy of pursuing justice with integrity, and without fear or favor,” Hur said in a statement.
“I’m humbled by the bravery, creativity, and resilience that my colleagues have shown every day during my three years as U.S. Attorney,” he added. “Together, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring criminals to justice, protect and provide recourse to victims and witnesses, and defend our nation against adversaries both foreign and domestic. We protected our traditions of integrity and continued our commitment to justice in the face of daunting challenges, including the longest federal government shutdown ever, tragic acts of violent extremism, and a frightening pandemic.”
Hur submitted his resignation on Wednesday, two weeks to the day after Biden took office. The choice of a successor will be heavily influenced by Maryland’s two U.S. senators, Ben Cardin and Christopher Van Hollen, both Democrats.
Traditionally, the appointment of a U.S. attorney is done in consultation with a state’s two senators, and the fact that Biden, Cardin and Van Hollen are in the same party will undoubtedly make that a more collegial decision.
Under Hur’s leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office successfully prosecuted Christopher Hasson, a former Coast Guard officer who amassed an arsenal of weapons in preparation for violence inspired by extremist, white-supremacist views.
Prosecutors also had charged Rondell Henry with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), in connection with his plans to drive a motor vehicle into crowds and inflict mass civilian casualties at National Harbor.
Hur had worked closely with Rod Rosenstein while Rosenstein was the deputy attorney general at Justice Department headquarters and previously in Maryland, and he had been a special assistant to now-FBI director Christopher Wray.
Before becoming an aide to Rosenstein, Hur was a partner at King & Spalding LLP in Washington, handling criminal and regulatory cases before federal agencies including the Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
A graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School, Hur started his career as a law clerk to former Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist.