Trump nominates Durham for U.S. Attorney; senators signal approval

President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated veteran prosecutor John H. Durham to serve as U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut and drew quick praise from the state's two Democratic senators.

Durham, 67, of Groton had been named interim U.S. attorney for Connecticut on Friday, upon the departure of U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly, an Obama appointee who was allowed to stay on until reaching the 20 years of service required for retirement. The formal nomination came on Wednesday, as Trump nominated Durham and six others for attorney general posts in California, Maryland, New Mexico, the eastern and southern districts of Texas and the middle district of Louisiana.

"These seven candidates share the President's vision for 'Making America Safe Again,'" said a news release from the White House.

Durham and the other nominees now require confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Connecticut's Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy said in a news release Wednesday that they had recommended Durham to Trump.

"John Durham has earned immense respect as a no-nonsense, fierce and fair prosecutor, and we are pleased that the White House has agreed with our recommendation that he serve as United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut," said the senators' joint statement. "As an assistant United States attorney, John Durham has proven himself time and time again in some of the most challenging and sensitive cases. Deirdre Daly led the office with distinction, targeting career criminals, building close, effective partnerships with local law enforcement, establishing innovative prevention initiatives and deploying a multi-faceted approach to combatting the opioid crisis. We are confident that Durham will continue this record of success in providing strong leadership to the office."

Durham also has the support of the state's top prosecutor, Kevin T. Kane, who said Tuesday that Durham is the most experienced prosecutor who has ever served in the U.S. attorney's position and is an "excellent" choice.

Durham has served in the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut since 1989, holding numerous positions, including acting U.S. attorney, deputy U.S. attorney, chief of the Criminal Division and counsel to the U.S. attorney. Prior to that, he served on the U.S. Department of Justice's Boston Strike Force on Organized Crime, where he led the high-profile prosecution of former Supervisory FBI Special Agent John J. Connolly and mob bosses James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi.

k.florin@theday.com

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