- The Washington Times - Friday, December 3, 2004

Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio said yesterday he will resign early next year, ending a three-year career defined by several high-profile political squabbles and as many victories.

Mr. DiBiagio, 44, said yesterday that, in the best interest of his family, he would return to private practice and that he had no political ambitions.

He told editors and reporters at The Washington Times during an October meeting that he had not considered whether he would serve if re-appointed and he expressed the desire to return to private practice.

Mr. DiBiagio’s biggest victories over the past three years include successfully prosecuting former Maryland State Police Superintendent Edward T. Norris on charges of misspending public money, former state-pension-fund manager Nathan Chapman on wire-fraud charges, former Allfirst Financial Inc. currency trader John Rusnak on bank-fraud charges and Darrell Brooks on charges of killing a family of seven in a Baltimore arson.

Since President Bush appointed Mr. DiBiagio in 2001, the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted 2,000 cases and had a 98 percent conviction rate.

However, his priorities and methods alienated federal officials and high-ranking politicians, including long-time friend Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Gary Bald, the former head of the FBI Baltimore field office.

Critics said after the September 11 attack that Mr. DiBiagio remained more committed to law enforcement than to anti-terrorism efforts.

Mr. DiBiagio said the U.S. Attorney’s Office established one of the country’s leading anti-terrorism programs after the attack while remaining vigilant about prosecuting corruption cases, white-collar crime, organized crime, international drug trafficking and child exploitation.

“I have strived to obtain justice for all, without fear or favor,” he said.

More problems surfaced in July when the Baltimore Sun published a memo in which Mr. DiBiagio urged his staff to produce three “front-page” public-corruption or white-collar fraud indictments by Nov. 6.

As a result, Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey said he would review every indictment Mr. DiBiagio proposed in a public-corruption case to protect the “credibility” of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Mr. DiBiagio, a Republican, dismissed the highly publicized flap with Justice Department officials as “overblown” and “misconstrued.” He also said the memo simply reflected the goal of producing cases that his prosecutors had been developing.

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