- Associated Press - Monday, February 3, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House expressed confidence on Monday in the Homeland Security Department’s new chief of staff, who played a key role in the prosecution of his father-in-law and former Pennsylvania state senator on corruption charges.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Christian Marrone, among the first and most prominent new hires by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, held a senior position at the Defense Department during President George W. Bush’s presidency, and that both the White House and Johnson have “complete confidence” in him.

Marrone’s appointment to Johnson’s inner circle and details about his ties to his father-in-law, Vince Fumo, were first reported Monday by The Washington Times and confirmed through court records by The Associated Press. Court records showed that Marrone, who was not charged with any crime, was a prosecution witness against Fumo during Fumo’s 2008 federal corruption trial. Fumo was convicted and served more than five years in federal prison.

Marrone, a lawyer who went to work for Fumo shortly after graduating from college, took the stand several years after he stopped working for Fumo.

Marrone told prosecutors that he kept records from his time working for Fumo, including emails, fearing that his boss’s activities might someday lead to criminal charges. Since leaving Fumo’s office, Marrone has worked at the Defense Department and in the private sector. He once was a special assistant to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Marrone declined to comment Monday.

A Homeland Security Department spokesman, Peter Boogaard, said Marrone was well regarded at the Defense Department during Bush’s tenure and the Obama administration.

“Secretary Johnson was impressed with Mr. Marrone’s integrity and management abilities, and he will be a strong addition to the management team at DHS,” Boogaard said.

Johnson was previously the Pentagon’s top lawyer.

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