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Press Release

Joseph H. Harrington to Serve as Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington
By way of the Vacancy Reform Act Harrington begins service on March 1, 2021

United States Attorney William D. Hyslop announced that, by way of the Vacancy Reform Act, Joseph H. Harrington (currently the First Assistant United States Attorney) will serve as the Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington beginning March 1, 2021.

Harrington previously led the U.S. Attorneys’ Office from March, 2017 through July, 2019 as the Acting, then Court-Appointed United States Attorney. Harrington’s experience as a litigator in an exclusive federal-court practice and as a manager of over 65 employees has provided him with the necessary qualifications and skills to execute appropriately the significant responsibilities attendant with the position of Acting U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington. He has been with the office for over 30 years.

During his tenure in the United States Attorney’s Office Harrington has handled all aspects of both civil and criminal trial as well as appellate litigation. His civil litigation experience has been varied, involving lawsuits involving the defense of medical malpractice, employment discrimination, wrongful death, and contract disputes. His criminal litigation experience covers the full spectrum of serious criminal offenses. Of particular note, he prosecuted Kevin Harpham, an avowed white supremacist who placed an improvised explosive device along the path of Spokane’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity March. He also prosecuted members of the anti-government Phineas Priest domestic terrorism group who bombed a Planned Parenthood clinic and a Spokane newspaper facility and executed armed take-over robberies (and a bombing) of a bank in Spokane, Washington. Harrington also served as co-counsel, primarily supervising the trial team, in the civil rights prosecution of then-Spokane police officer Karl F. Thompson, a case involving the untimely death of Mr. Otto Zehm.

Harrington’s administrative experiences and responsibilities includes pro-actively managing, hiring, and supporting a diverse workforce, together with providing opportunities for increased professional development. He was instrumental in the Office’s appointment of its first two female Deputy Criminal Chiefs, a female Senior Litigation Counsel, and extending offers of employment to a diverse group of female Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

Harrington has established and continues to build robust law enforcement and community relationships, including relationships with the four Native American Tribes in Eastern Washington. He has played a pivotal role in the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s on-going efforts to address Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.

U.S. Attorney Hyslop stated: “The Eastern District of Washington will be well-served by soon-to-be Acting United States Attorney Joseph H. Harrington.”

Updated February 11, 2021