- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2005

BALTIMORE — Calling himself “a placeholder” until a permanent chief can be found, Allen Loucks assumed the duties of Maryland’s interim U.S. attorney yesterday.

Mr. Loucks, who had been chief of the civil division for the office since 2001, joked that “gravity will suspend” before President Bush appoints him to permanently take the place of Thomas DiBiagio, who resigned last month to join a Washington law firm.

Mr. Loucks has been an assistant U.S. attorney since 1994. He will stand in as chief prosecutor for 120 days or until a replacement is found.

Mr. Loucks, 47, said he was “awestruck” to serve as the interim chief, mentioning a string of successful prosecutions for the Maryland office, including that of former Maryland State Police Superintendent Edward T. Norris, who was sentenced to six months in prison for using thousands of dollars in police funds to pay for extramarital affairs when he was Baltimore’s police chief.

“It’s an amazing history of really meaningful work,” Mr. Loucks said.

Mr. Loucks lives in Baltimore with his wife and child.

Born in Los Angeles, he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester, a master’s degree in history from Columbia University in 1980 and a degree from the George Washington University Law School in 1985.

He said several times that his new job wouldn’t be permanent.

“This is solely an interim appointment. I am not in any respect in the running for the presidential appointment. Someone has to keep the trains running on time,” Mr. Loucks said.

Mr. DiBiagio, who had served since 2001, presided over an often turbulent office. He was reprimanded in July after the publication of internal e-mails in which he pressed his staff for three “front-page” corruption indictments before Election Day.

In November, the Justice Department sent representatives to interview prosecutors working under Mr. DiBiagio about his job performance. Several told auditors that Mr. DiBiagio should be removed, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Also during Mr. DiBiagio’s tenure, one of his assistant U.S. attorneys, Jonathan Luna, was found drowned in a ditch in Pennsylvania in December 2003. He had been stabbed 36 times. But after a year of intense investigation, officials say they lack evidence to prove Mr. Luna was killed.

As his first duty, Mr. Loucks swore in a new assistant U.S. attorney in the civil division. He joked that the new attorney’s “sentence is much longer than [the] 120 days” Mr. Loucks will serve as interim chief prosecutor.

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