President Joe Biden asked U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Don Cochran — a Trump appointee — to resign in February, but nine months later Biden still hasn’t nominated Cochran’s replacement.
David Boling, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, told The Tennessee Star on Monday that he is not aware if Biden has nominated someone to take the position.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to operate in its normal capacity and functions and is currently under the leadership of Acting U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin,” Boling said.
“The Office has no control or involvement in the nomination process or timing.”
Boling directed The Star to the offices of U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) for more information.
Members of Blackburn’s and Hagerty’s communications’ staff, however, did not return requests for comment before Monday’s stated deadline.
Blackburn said on her U.S. Senate website that she and Hagerty are currently accepting applications for the positions of United States attorneys in the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Tennessee.
Under Cochran’s leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee addressed violent crime and repeat offenders and quickly doubled the number of federal firearms prosecutions.
That same month Biden also asked that U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee Michael Dunavant resign. Dunavant was also appointed by former President Donald Trump.
U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Cherri Green said at the time that U.S. Attorneys “serve at the will and pleasure of the President.”
Dunavant led successful investigations and federal prosecutions of multiple criminal gang organizations and aggressively prosecuted violent crime, child exploitation, immigration offenses, and health care fraud.
In March First Assistant United States Attorney Joseph C. Murphy, Jr., succeeded Dunavant as the Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, according to that office’s website.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Don Cochran” by United States Department of Justice. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Karen Neoh. CC BY 2.0.