Government

U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan Jr. retires after 23 years as federal prosecutor

Trump-appointed top prosecutors will be replaced starting this week

U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan Jr. speaks at a news conference at the U.S. District Courthouse for the Northern District of
U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan Jr. speaks at a news conference at the U.S. District Courthouse for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids in 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan Jr. announced his retirement Tuesday after serving 23 years with the U.S. Department of Justice and the past three years as the top federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Iowa.

Deegan’s announcement comes as officials said Tuesday the U.S. Justice Department will be requesting resignations from U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Two attorneys working on politically sensitive cases will remain, out of the 56 Senate confirmed attorneys asked to resign, according to Bloomberg and the Washington Post. There are a total of 93 U.S. attorneys across the country.

It is typical for incoming presidents to replace and appoint new top prosecutors in each district.

U.S. Attorney Marc Krickbaum of the Southern District of Iowa, also appointed by Trump, resigned in January.

Deegan was appointed in September 2017 and his last day will be Feb. 17, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Berry will be the interim U.S. attorney for the district until President Joe Biden appoints one.

Deegan plans to join a private law firm based in the Midwest. He declined to provide more information regarding his new position until after he has left the office.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa,” Deegan said in a statement. “Representing our nation has been the privilege of my lifetime and it has been an honor to have been entrusted with that responsibility.”

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Deegan said all the “many accomplishments” of the office during his tenure are because of the “extraordinary work” of the assistant prosecutors and staff in the district.

“Their dedication and commitment to justice cannot be overstated,” Deegan said. “Nor would our accomplishments have been possible without the federal, state and local law enforcement partners who dedicate their lives and risk their personal safety every day to make our communities safer.”

Deegan started his career in 1998 when he took a position in the district’s Sioux City office as a special assistant U.S. attorney employed through the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

He prosecuted methamphetamine manufacturers and traffickers as part of the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area’s methamphetamine initiative.

Deegan became an assistant U.S. attorney in 1999 and handled a variety of criminal cases from narcotics and violent crime to complex fraud, child sexual exploitation and business crimes.

Over the course of his department career, Deegan also served in the U.S. District of the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit. From early 2015 until his confirmation as U.S. Attorney of this district in September 2017, he served as the chief of the criminal division for the Northern District of Iowa.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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