U.S. Attorney Investigating Virginia Governor, WikiLeaks Leaving Post After 4 Years

MacBride oversaw many high-profile cases

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    U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride (left) and FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director James McJunkin answer reporters' questions during a news conference June 23, 2011. MacBride announced federal charges were filed against U.S. Marine Corps reservist Yonathan Melaku, 22, charging him with being involved in five separate shootings at military installations in northern Virginia between October and November 2010. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Neil MacBride, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, is leaving his post after four years of overseeing numerous high-profile cases.

    MacBride, whose office is investigating Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the WikiLeaks organization, said Thursday that his resignation is effective Sept. 13. He was appointed to the post in 2009.

    Friends said MacBride postponed stepping down due to ongoing probes but has decided those cases are in good hands, The Washington Post reported.

    “It has been a dream job to serve as U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia for the last four years,” MacBride said. “My first job as a lawyer was clerking for Judge Henry Morgan here 21 years ago, and my wife and I have lived and raised our children in this District.”

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    Under MacBride, the Alexandria-based office pursued terrorism, corruption, human trafficking and white-collar prosecutions and increased its emphasis on cases with international aspects, including drug trafficking, arms dealing and piracy.

    During MacBride’s four years, his office convicted Amine el-Khalifi, who plotted a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Farooque Ahmed, who planned to bomb Metrorail. His office also made the first high-seas piracy convictions since 1820 for 26 Somali pirates, including pirate negotiator Mohammed Shibin, who attacked U.S. ships.

    His office obtained a bribery conviction of former Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., and brought a major copyright piracy case against Kim Dotcom, founder of the Megaupload file-sharing site.

    Recently, MacBride had been under consideration for appointment as FBI director.

    The U.S. Senate confirmed MacBride's appointment to a four-year term by President Barack Obama on Sept. 15, 2009. Prior to that he spent most of his career as a government attorney. He attended Houghton College and the University of Virginia School of Law.

    An acting U.S. attorney will be appointed until a replacement is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the office said.