By Lyra Bordelon
United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced his resignation from the federal Southern District of West Virginia on Friday, Feb. 12, in a letter addressed to President Joe Biden.
“At your request, I hereby offer my resignation as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia,” wrote Stuart.
Stuart was nominated for the position by former President Donald Trump in September 2017. According to reporting by the Washington Post, the Biden administration plans to “ask U.S. attorneys who were appointed by former President Donald Trump to resign from their posts, as the [administration] moves to transition to its own nominees, a senior Justice Department official said Monday.”
“It has been my distinct honor to serve as a United States Attorney particularly because it was in service to the people of West Virginia,” Stuart wrote in the letter to Biden. “I’ve had a love affair with the people of West Virginia from my very first breath. It is a love affair that will continue to my very last breath and until I rest within the brilliance of God’ s creation of these ‘Country Roads.’ As the son and grandson of coal miners and as a West Virginian whose family has inhabited these hills and hollers long before the founding of the state, I have been blessed to stand on the shoulders of giants-dedicated hard working West Virginians-who made it possible for this “son of a coal miner” to become a United States Attorney. My family is my inspiration to the greatness of this remarkable country-family members like my grandmas Opal and Virginia and my personal heroes, my mom and dad. I am profoundly thankful to generations of my family on whose ‘ blood, toil, tears, and sweat’ made my achievement possible.
During his tenure, in addition to prosecuting a number of drug-related offenses, Stuart and his office were critical in investigating members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. This came shortly after the West Virginia legislature voted to impeach all five judges on the Supreme Court for corruption and inappropriate spending.
“Although necessary on behalf of the people of West Virginia and in defense of the rule of law, the indictment and conviction of former Chief Justice Allen Loughry and the Information and conviction of former Justice Menis Ketchum brought me no personal pleasure,” Stuart wrote in a 2019 press release. “Rather, my satisfaction is that my office was able to play a significant role in restoring the confidence of the people of West Virginia in the West Virginia Supreme Court. I have great sympathy for the families involved in this matter, but I have said many times, this office takes the issue of public corruption and abuse of the public trust incredibly seriously. There is no such thing as a little bit of public corruption.”
This included the convictions of two justices.
“Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II was convicted by a federal jury in October 2018 of one count of mail fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, and two counts of lying to the FBI. He was sentenced last month to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the State of West Virginia and the Pound Civil Justice Institute. … Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Menis Ketchum II pled guilty to wire fraud in August 2018 and was sentenced earlier this month to three years of probation.”
Before serving as U.S. Attorney, Stuart served as the chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party, chaired the West Virginia Presidential Debate Commission, and worked as a member of the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, serving as co-chair of the firm’s corporate services and tax practice group.
“President Biden, I wish you the greatest success in your leadership of this great nation,” Stuart wrote. “We are truly the greatest nation in the history of man. If I may ever be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to call on me.”