The U.S. Senate has confirmed Minneapolis attorney B. Todd Jones as the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, a position he also held during the Clinton administration from 1998-2001.
The 93 U.S. attorneys in the nation are essentially the federal government's top prosecutors, wielding power by deciding which kinds of federal crimes to focus on in their districts. Those crimes can range from terrorism to child pornography to white collar fraud to crimes on Indian reservations.
After the vote, Jones outlined some of his priorities for the office. "There are some challenges on the national security front that aren't going to be a surprise to me, particularly involving the Somali community," said Jones. "Given some very high-profile cases and things that are in the works, fraud -- particularly financial fraud -- will remain and be a top priority item for the U.S. Attorney's office in Minnesota."
Jones said he also expects to continue working with Indian tribes to enhance public safety on reservations, particularly those that are exclusively federal such as Red Lake and Bois Forte.
Jones said fighting organized violent crime will also be a priority nationally and locally, particularly if it involves narcotics trafficking and Mexican drug cartels.
Jones' legal background includes serving as a U.S. Marine Corp judge advocate until he was honorably discharged in 1998, having reached the rank of Major. He's worked in private practice as a trial lawyer since 2001. Jones earned his law degree at the University of Minnesota.
One of his highest-profile cases involved successfully defending Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Twin Kirby Puckett in a criminal trial involving allegations of sexual assault. A jury acquitted Puckett on all charges in 2003.
In addition, Jones has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in complex criminal and civil business cases.
Jones said he expects to begin working in the office by the end of next week.
Jones replaces interim U.S. Attorney Frank Magill, who's held that position since NOvember 2007, when Rachel Paulose resigned amid controversy and office turmoil.
The office of Special Counsel found Paulose retaliated against a top assistant after he filed a report over her mishandling of classified homeland security documents. Two other top supervisors in the office stepped down from their management roles at the same time.
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission spokeswoman, Paulose is now a senior trial attorney with the SEC's office in Miami.