Minnesota's top federal prosecutor plans to resign her post by the end of the month, following President Joe Biden's call for U.S. attorneys across the nation to make way for new blood, a spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.
Erica MacDonald, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was sworn in as Minnesota U.S. attorney in 2018, more than a year after the forced resignation of Obama-appointee Andrew Luger.
The Department of Justice will appoint an interim prosecutor while a search committee, led by Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, finds replacement nominees for the state's U.S. attorney and U.S. marshal spots.
In her three years on the job, MacDonald led an office that prioritized prosecutions of cartel-linked drug cases, sexual exploitation of minors on the internet, violent crime on Indian reservations and the rise of gun violence in the Twin Cities.
Late last year, MacDonald's office secured a conviction in the trial of Michael Hari, the rural Illinois leader of the White Rabbits militia who in 2017 meticulously planned and helped execute the bombing of Dar Al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington. Many in the Muslim community, still traumatized by the bombing, praised MacDonald's office for aggressively prosecuting the case following the guilty verdict in November.
Her tenure also includes charging what is believed to be the largest fraud case targeting older Americans in U.S. history. The white-collar crime case is still moving through the federal courts, and includes allegations that dozens of defendants bilked about 183,000 victims, many of them seniors, out of more than $335 million in a phony magazine-selling scam.
Her office is also leading prosecutions in about two dozen federal cases against people who participated in rioting, looting and other unlawful acts last summer in the civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police. This includes charges against the anti-government Boogaloo Bois, some of whom traveled to Minnesota to take part in the riots.
During her time as U.S. attorney, she also served on several Department of Justice commissions, including one tasked with finding solutions to make American law enforcement more effective.
MacDonald, formerly an assistant U.S. attorney, served as a Dakota County district court judge since for nearly a decade before being appointed to Minnesota's U.S. attorney position in 2018.
The Justice Department announced this week it will ask almost all U.S. attorneys appointed by Trump to step down. A new administration cleaning house is not uncommon; Trump did the same to Obama appointees when he took office.
Approximately one-third of the U.S. Attorneys' Offices were already led by acting or interim leadership before Biden's call for resignations, according to a statement from the Justice Department.
Law enforcement officials and prosecutors from around the state have been named to the search committee led by Klobuchar and Smith to find MacDonald's replacement.
"These positions are critical to keeping our state and communities safe," said Klobuchar in a statement. "I am confident that this committee will find candidates who are committed to the promise of equal justice under law for all."
Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036