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Attorney General John Ashcroft today announced that Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson will step down at the end of August. Thompson was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General on May 10, 2001, and oversaw day-to-day operations of the Department of Justice including the oversight, coordination and direction of the criminal investigations and prosecutions nationwide.

“Larry was more than a Deputy Attorney General to me. He was my partner. He worked shoulder to shoulder with me at a time when history necessitated dramatic changes in the way the Justice Department did its job. From his work to protect America from terrorism, to restoring public confidence in the financial markets, to everything in between, Larry was a true leader,” said Attorney General Ashcroft. “I will miss his intellect and his wise counsel, but I know our friendship will continue for years to come.”

Immediately after the September 11 attacks, Deputy Attorney General Thompson served as chairman of the President’s National Security Coordination Council, charged with assessing vulnerabilities in the nation’s private, governmental, and industrial sectors.

In July 2002, following a spate of high profile corporate scandals that shook the American economy, President Bush appointed Deputy Attorney General Thompson as head of the Corporate Fraud Task Force. Over the past two years, the task force has opened over 400 investigations, brought over 350 charges against individuals and obtained over 250 convictions against executives and other business professionals.

Thompson was the driving force behind reinvigorating the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that targets the large-scale cartels and illegal drug producers responsible for the majority of illegal drug trafficking in the United States.

Chief White House Counsel, Judge Alberto Gonzales praised the Deputy Attorney General. “Larry has played an integral role in America’s war on terrorism, he has helped to coordinate the Administration’s efforts to combat corporate fraud, and reinvigorated the federal government’s drug enforcement efforts. He has served the nation and the President well and he will be missed,” said Judge Gonzales.

“I thank President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft for giving me the opportunity and the honor to serve America at such an momentous time in our nation’s history,” Thompson said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with so many dedicated patriots in the cause of justice.”

Prior to his service as Deputy Attorney General, Thompson was a partner in the Atlanta, Georgia law firm of King & Spalding. From 1982-1986, Thompson served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. As United States Attorney, he directed the Southeastern Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and served on the Attorney General’s Economic Crime Council. In July 1995, Thompson was appointed Independent Counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development Investigation by the Special Panel of U.S. Circuit Court Judges appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In April 2000, Thompson was selected to chair the Judicial Review Commission on Foreign Asset Control. The five member, bipartisan Commission was established by Congress to conduct a complete review of judicial, regulatory and administrative authorities relating to the imposition of economic sanctions under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Thompson was a member of the Committee on Lawyers’ Qualifications and Conduct of the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He was also an elected Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.

Deputy Attorney General Thompson graduated cum laude in 1967 from Culver-Stockton College where he served as a member of the Board of Trustees. He received his master’s degree in 1969 from Michigan State University and his law degree in 1974 from the University of Michigan Law School.