United States Attorney Jason Dunn Announces Resignation
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
Thanks Coloradans for the opportunity to serve
DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced today that he has submitted his resignation to President Biden, effective at midnight on February 28, 2021 (copy of letter attached). Beginning March 1, 2021, the office will be led by Acting United States Attorney Matthew Kirsch, who currently serves as the First Assistant United States Attorney.
Shortly after announcing his resignation, United States Attorney Dunn released the following statement to the citizens of Colorado:
My fellow Coloradans,
Today, I honored the request of the Acting Attorney General of the United States and submitted to President Biden my resignation as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, effective at midnight on February 28, 2021.
Serving as United States Attorney has been the greatest honor of my professional life. As I reflect on my time as United States Attorney, I’d like you to know some of what the truly outstanding attorneys and staff in our office were able to accomplish.
Public safety was always our number one priority. We took on violent crime and drugs with ferocity, focusing on gun crime, gang violence, and narcotic traffickers using new and innovative techniques. We built an award winning multi-agency task force – the Regional Anti-Violence Enforcement Network (RAVEN) -- which has brought significant actions addressing violent gun crime in the Denver Metro area. We also worked with our partners at the DEA to take down multiple drug rings, bringing Drug Kingpin charges, and we targeted those who brought deadly fentanyl and other hard drugs into Colorado. Our policy of holding dealers accountable with long prison sentences for any opioid overdose death let drug dealers know we meant business.
Colorado is a huge state, and while the work we do in Denver and Aurora rightfully gets much of the attention, I’m particularly proud of what we accomplished for those of you in smaller communities in Colorado. For example, we targeted violent gangs in Pueblo and a drug trafficking ring in Montrose, bringing more than a dozen people to justice and getting them out of those communities. Similarly, I prioritized our Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes, hired two new prosecutors in our Durango office to work on tribal cases, hosted a four-state Indian country victim’s conference, and emphasized the prosecution of violent crime against tribal women.
We also confronted domestic terrorism head-on and addressed the scourge of white supremacy. We prevented the bombing of a synagogue in Pueblo, and stopped a potential serious hate crime when we charged a Boulder man with possession of child pornography and highlighted the fact that he possessed Nazi propaganda and “hunting guides” with instructions on where to find Jews and Muslims. And when peaceful protests in Denver turned violent this summer, we stood with our fellow law enforcement officers in enforcing the rule of law. Likewise, when violence hit our nation’s Capitol building on January 6, we did our part to ensure that Coloradans responsible for that violence were also held accountable. We defended the right to peacefully protest in both cases, but we aggressively applied the rule of law when political speech crossed into lawlessness and violence. And we did so without regard to any political or social cause underlying these crimes.
We also took on tough civil rights issues, prosecuting a police officer who sexually assaulted a vulnerable woman in his care, and made sure that justice was served for the victims of the deadly Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs by adding federal charges when the state process stalled. During difficult moments, I reached out to communities of faith rocked by violence at home and abroad, and helped them plan how to protect their houses of worship.
During all of this, our state and nation were in the grips of a horrific opioid epidemic. I focused our office’s efforts to attack the problem on all fronts. Along the way, we had to overcome resistance from some surprising places, but were ultimately able to bring one of the nation’s largest opioid lawsuits against the biggest corporation in America for its unlawful conduct in distributing these powerful prescription drugs. At the same time, I advocated against government sponsored injection sites that could lead our fellow Coloradans into a life of addiction, while prosecuting those who distributed illicit drugs resulting in death, or who stole drugs intended for patients.
We’ve also worked to keep companies and government officials honest, standing up for the millions of consumers whose data was sold to fraudsters, rooting out corruption in government contracting, filing a criminal charge against a judge who obstructed a federal investigation, and holding a former government official accountable. We even used a federal law for only the third time in U.S. history to charge a Gambian man with torturing people in his home country on behalf of that country’s president.
I am also very proud of the role we played with our federal and state law enforcement and election partners to ensure a secure 2020 election. Working with the FBI, Homeland Security, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and others, we established an election security team that helped deliver the most secure election in Colorado’s history. I celebrated our state’s accomplishment by honoring these federal and state officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Award of Excellence in December. These individuals made sure that Coloradans were able to vote free of violence or intimidation, and that our election systems were free from intrusion or manipulation by domestic or foreign actors. At the end of the day, Coloradans could vote freely and be sure that their votes were counted accurately.
Finally, it is important to note that all of this success came at what was undoubtedly one of the most difficult times in the history of this office. Soon after I became U.S. Attorney, we faced the longest federal government shutdown in history, where our employees were either furloughed without pay or had to work for a month not knowing if they would get paid for their efforts. This was later followed by a global pandemic and economic crash that shut down our courts at the same time crime was surging, put employees at risk of contracting a deadly disease in order to keep the community safe, and forced all of us to do our jobs remotely. And yet our office never missed a beat, rose to the occasion, and ensured that justice was always served.
Even with all our successes, the best part of my time as U.S. Attorney has simply been working side-by-side with the dedicated public servants of this office. When I became U.S. Attorney, I set out three guiding principles: professionalism, legal excellence, and integrity. I am proud to say that not a day went by where I didn’t believe we were living up to the full potential of those ideals. The employees of this office are some of the finest public servants in America. They work long hours and fight every day to keep Colorado safe, to stand up for the rule of law, and to protect our nation’s interests. They operate with unwavering integrity and without political ideology or favor to any individual. I thank them for their service and friendship, and I hope they and all of you know that I tried to lead the office in the same way.
With warmest regards and justice always,
Jason R. Dunn
United States Attorney for the District of Colorado
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Updated February 25, 2021