Top federal prosecutor for region announces resignation

Top federal prosecutor for region announces resignation
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman speaking at a news conference in 2018 (FOX19 NOW/file)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The top federal prosecutor for the region is stepping down.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Benjamin Glassman announced his resignation Monday. It is effective at 3 p.m. Nov. 1.

Glassman, 44, has been with the U.S. Attorney’s Office since 2005, according to a news release.

He became the acting U.S. Attorney in March 2016 when the former one resigned and was then appointed to the job by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch in October 2016.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump nominated David DeVillers for the position. DeVillers is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Ohio.

“I am grateful to President Trump for nominating me to serve as the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and to Senators Portman and Brown for recommending me to the President for this position,” said DeVillers in a recent news release from U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s office.

“I am honored by their confidence in me and look forward to continuing to serve Ohio in this new role.”

He has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, though they are expected to vote during their next session, which could be this coming week, said Jennifer Thornton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

"We anticipate the court will swear in Dave DeVillers as U.S. Attorney on Nov 1, she said.

DeVillers has worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for more than 17 years and has prosecuted a variety of federal offenses with an emphasis on organized crime, murder and other crimes of violence.

He also served as an assistant prosecuting attorney with the Franklin County Prosecutors Office from 1992 to 2002 and advised the Iraqi High Tribunal in the prosecution of Saddam Hussein from 2006 to 2007.

As Glassman leaves, fatal overdoses and violent crime in the region are declining, federal officials said Monday.

“U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman and the entire staff of the Southern District of Ohio have been amazing partners with the Cincinnati Police Department during Mr. Glassman’s tenure and we greatly appreciate his leadership," said Police Chief Eliot Isaac in a prepared statement.

"Under Attorney Glassman’s leadership there have been several critical cases that have led to the successful prosecution of priority offenders who were causing significant harm to our community through gun violence and illicit drug trafficking. It has been a privilege to work with Attorney Glassman and we look forward to our continued collaboration with the Southern District of Ohio.”

During Glassman’s tenure, the office increased its total productivity annually.

There have been several high-profile cases including the the recent one involving a former veteran Cincinnati police captain who pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery and filing a false income tax return.

The office also oversaw during his tenure the country’s first-ever indictment and extradition of an alleged Chinese intelligence officer for attempted economic espionage and the prosecution for racketeering of the Ohio clique of MS-13 that resulted in a life sentence for its leader.

The office also produced one of only two criminal cases in the nation against an opioid wholesaler and its executives and the first-ever federal carfentanil-trafficking case.

And there is a current civil rights investigation into the 2015 fatal hooting of Samuel DuBose by then-University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing.

It’s not clear when that probe, which Glassman announced in July 2017, will wrap up or if federal charges will be filed against Tensing, whose two murder trails ended in mistrials when juries could not reach verdicts.

Current data show that both fatal overdoses and violent crime in the district are declining.

“Ben Glassman has a tremendous energy and enthusiasm for his work," said U.S. Marshal Pete Tobin, in the prepared news release from Glassman's office.

"He has been quick to publicly recognize the great work of law enforcement personnel in many agencies. He has always taken time to talk with any of us when we needed a word. Always with a smile, always with kindness, always a gentleman, he has created a special atmosphere among all of us in law enforcement within our district. He will be sorely missed by all of us.”

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said: “I have known Ben Glassman for nearly two decades and have been impressed with his career progression as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and most recently as the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. In the past few years, the Dayton Police Department has worked closely with Ben Glassman and his prosecutorial team on enforcement strategies to address the opioid epidemic crisis in the Miami Valley that involved key arrests and prosecutions, helping to curtail the illicit drug market that had led to the largest number of overdose deaths regionally and nationally that I have witnessed in more than 40 years of law enforcement and community safety service. The recent federal charges filed against nineteen individuals for drug offenses related to the trafficking of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin involving a regional drug ring is just one example. Also, U.S Attorney Glassman and his staff provided significant investigative support via expedited search warrants to examine digital evidence related to the suspect in the Oregon District mass shooting."

“U.S. Attorney Glassman has been a true partner in the work of securing all faith communities in southwest Ohio," added Jackie Congedo, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Cincinnati.

"In the Jewish community, we are particularly grateful for his courageous, thorough, and precedent-setting prosecution of hate crime—sending a strong and urgent message that crime motivated by bias will not be tolerated. During a time when incidents of antisemitism and other forms of hate are on the rise, U.S. Attorney Glassman’s commitment to the cause of justice for targeted communities has been nothing short of critical, and we are truly grateful for his service.”

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