A top federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania who drew backlash for an investigation of discarded ballots is stepping down.
No reason given for resignation
Freed will step down on New Year’s Day, bringing his more than three years in office to a close. He did not give a reason for his resignation.
“I have done my best to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice to my fellow citizens in a fair, effective and efficient manner. I am grateful to President Trump and Senators Toomey and Casey for the opportunity to serve; and to former Attorneys General Sessions and Barr for their leadership of the Department,” he said.
The prosecutor attracted controversy in September when he announced that he was investigating nine military ballots that were discarded, seven of which he said were for President Donald Trump.
Critics accused Freed of giving Trump material to push “baseless” claims that mail-in ballots are prone to voter fraud.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said that a “bad error” was to blame, not “intentional fraud.”
Election clouded by fraud concerns
Freed’s September announcement came weeks before an election night lead for Trump evaporated in a crush of mail-in ballots, something Trump and his allies have attributed to a conspiracy to rig the election.
Trump has continued to challenge Biden’s putative win ahead of a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to count the Electoral College votes.
Freed was District Attorney of Cumberland County for 12 years before his current job. He was nominated by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), appointed by Trump, and confirmed by the Senate to his current post in November 2017. The Middle District includes more than 30 counties in Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“For the past three years, I have had the great fortune to work with the highly skilled attorneys and staff in the Middle District of Pennsylvania,” Freed said. “It is an office blessed with experienced and dedicated leaders, and colleagues who truly understand the importance of working together for the benefit of their fellow citizens.”
First Assistant United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler will take over Freed’s job.