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U.S. Attorney Resigns
Friday, 07 August 2009

August 7-- United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Edmund A. Booth, Jr. announces his resignation effective midnight September 3, 2009.

            Vidalia attorney Paul Threlkeld is one of the candidates being considered to succeed Booth. 

            Booth, whose legal career spanned more than thirty-eight years in the United States Attorney’s Office and involved extensive civil and criminal litigation experience and management responsibilities, stated:  “I am grateful for the opportunity to have served in the United States  Attorney’s Office for over thirty-eight years.  I have had a very rewarding career.  It has been my high honor and distinct privilege to have served these past two and one-half years as United States Attorney.  This has been the most fulfilling duty of my public career.  I look forward to the future and exploring work opportunities in the private sector.” 

            Booth served as Acting U. S. Attorney from February 2007 until he was appointed by Attorney General Gonzalez as Interim United States Attorney in September 2007, and President Bush appointed him to his current position on December 7, 2007.  He previously served as Interim U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia from April 21, 2001 to November 16, 2001 under an appointment by Attorney General Ashcroft as extended by the Chief Judge of the district. 

            During his tenure as United States Attorney, Booth made improvements in the handling of civil and criminal asset forfeiture litigation and affirmative civil enforcement litigation under the False Claims Act.  In the latter, the office achieved favorable settlements for the government in  separate cases totaling more than $2.3 million dollars. 

            In addition, under Booth’s  leadership, the U. S. Attorney’s Office joined with the U. S. Coast Guard in 2007 to lead a port security initiative involving federal, state and local agencies  to protect two of the state’s fastest-growing and economically important resources – the ports of Savannah and Brunswick - through anti-terrorism measures and crime interdiction.  In 2008 this initiative became  known as the Maritime Inter-Agency Center of Operations, or MICO.  Increased focus on crime interdiction at the ports ultimately led to the  federal prosecution of five major drug smuggling cases, three involving heroin and two involving marijuana.  In addition, the discovery of smuggling operations led to the forfeiture of over $15 million dollars in counterfeit goods and $500,000 in gold coins.

            In the areas of violent crime and gang-related prosecutions, under Booth’s leadership, the United States Attorney’s Office convicted 62 defendants in 2008-2009 who were charged federally  in Operation Augusta Ink, the 16-month undercover operation conducted out of the “Colur Tyme” Tattoo Parlor by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Similarly, sixty defendants were indicted in 2009 as partof Operation Statesboro Blues, a ten-month undercover investigation conducted in Statesboro, Georgia, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Thirty-six of these defendants have already been convicted.  Both of these cases were part of the district’s Project Ceasefire initiative, a program devoted to reducing gun violence.

            Under Mr. Booth’s tenure, the United States Attorney’s Office began focusing on the prosecution of mortgage fraud which became an escalating problem in the district.  In order to further address this problem, Booth directed attorneys in the Savannah and Augusta offices to participate in newly formed mortgage fraud working groups consisting of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working together with the mortgage industry to combat the increasingly  corrosive effect of mortgage fraud.   As a result of these efforts, the office has undertaken several mortgage fraud prosecutions which have resulted in convictions.

            As an example of his personal involvement in the handling of cases,  Booth joined with another attorney in the office to successfully represent the government in former state Senator Charles Walker’s  appeal where the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and sentence.  Furthermore, Booth represented the government in securing a $775,000 restitution payment from Mr. Walker and was successful in having the court strike the claim of the CSRA Classic Inc. to those funds.  Eventually, the funds were distributed by the court  to various charities within the Augusta area.

            In accomplishing the work of the office, Booth stated: “I will truly miss working with the fine attorneys and support staff in the U. S. Attorney’s Office, and I appreciate their exemplary work and dedicated commitment to the mission of the office.  In addition, my service was made more meaningful because of the fine working relationship the office enjoys with the Court and its personnel, as well as with the dedicated agents and support personnel of the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with whom we work.”  Booth also thanked Crime Stoppers, the office’s media partner on the Project Ceasefire initiative,  Augusta State University and Armstrong Atlantic State University officials for their assistance and support in community outreach efforts.

            Mr. Booth is a native of Athens, Georgia, and obtained his B.B.A. degree from the University of Georgia in 1967.  He obtained his J.D.degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1970.  Mr. Booth is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Augusta Bar Association.  He served as President of the Augusta Bar Association in 1999.
 
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