Senate OK’s San Diego’s New U.S. Attorney

     (CN) – The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Laura Duffy as U.S. attorney in San Diego; President Obama nominated her in February. Duffy will succeed interim U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt, who took office in 2007 after the controversial firing of Carol Lam, one of seven U.S. attorneys fired en masse by the Bush administration.

     Duffy was confirmed a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination unanimously. Duffy was recommended by Sen. Barbara Boxer.
     Duffy will continue in her job as assistant U.S. attorney in San Diego in the general crimes section until she is sworn in to her new position. She formerly worked in the narcotics unit. She joined the Department of Justice in 1993 as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program, which hires entry-level attorneys.
     Duffy led the prosecution of the Arellano Felix drug cartel of Tijuana, including drug lord Francisco Javier Arellano Felix, who was sentenced to life in prison.
     Karen Hewitt replaced Carol Lam in 2007, when the Bush administration fired or asked Lam and six other U.S. attorneys were to resign. Lam was accused of failing to prosecute enough immigration and gun cases, though in the furor that followed the mass firings, Democrats claims it was because she refused to ignore the crimes of Republicans.
     Lam’s investigation of U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham for bribery led to his sentencing to 8 years in federal prison. Her investigations also led to the indictments of two San Diego councilmen for extortion and wire fraud for allegedly trading money to repeal a law banning touching between strippers and customers.
     Duffy, who is openly gay, earned her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 1988 and her law degree from Creighton University School of Law in 1993.

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