U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester has announced he submitted his resignation to President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
According to a press release, Kuester’s resignation will be effective at 11:59 p.m., Feb. 28.
“It is customary for newly elected presidents to ask for the resignations of U.S. Attorney’s appointed by the previous administration,” Kuester said.
Kuester was nominated by President Donald Trump and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2017 and he took office in September 2017. Immediately prior to his appointment, he was in his second term as district attorney for Oklahoma’s 27 District, which serves Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah, and Wagoner Counties.
Kuester was the chief of federal law enforcement officer in the Eastern District as U.S. attorney. He was responsible for all federal criminal prosecutions and civil litigations involving the U.S. in the district. There are 26 counties within the Eastern District, along with the headquarters of each of the Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole Nations.
During his term, Kuester led the U.S. Attorney’s Office through several unprecedented challenges, including the longest federal government shutdown in history, a worldwide pandemic, and the impact of the U. S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision: McGirt v. Oklahoma, according to the release. The office handled more cases than it had under previous administrations.
“I am proud of the quality and quantity of the work our office has accomplished,” said Kuester. “We have made the Eastern District a safer place to live, work, and raise a family, and protected the interests of the U.S.”
Kuester said he's proud of the work his office accomplished in compliance with the core values of the Department of Justice: equal justice under the law, honesty and integrity, commitment to excellence, and respect for the work and dignity of each human being.
Kuester also credited the renewed importance of their working relationship with federal, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
“Our relationships with our law enforcement partners have never been stronger. We have seen unprecedented teamwork by the law enforcement community serving the people of this district,” he said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been a leader in preparing the district for the possibility that the McGirt ruling could applied to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations. The ruling only applies to the Muscogee (Creak) Nation.
“We have worked closely with federal, state, and tribal agencies to prepare for the exponential increase in criminal cases over which the federal government will have primary jurisdiction,” said Kuester. “We have offered training on Indian Country jurisdiction throughout the district; we have restructured our office – historically one of the smallest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country – to better manage the drastic caseload increase. We have worked closely with the FBI to streamline the case intake process; we have transparently shared and received information with our law enforcement partners; and we have indicted many more defendants than ever before in such a short period of time.”
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Wilson will serve as acting U.S. Attorney upon Kuester’s leave from office.