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Jones takes oath as U.S. attorney for Minnesota

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U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones
U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones was sworn in for the second time to the position on Friday, September 18, 2009.
MPR Photo/Jess Mador

B. Todd Jones, a former Minnesota U.S. attorney under the Clinton administration, was formally sworn in to the post for a second time today. 

Jones took the oath of office in the atrium of the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. 

He also revealed what the 'B' in B. Todd Jones stands for, to much applause. 

"I, Byron Todd Jones, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic," he said.

At the ceremony, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder praised Jones for his devotion to public service, first as a U.S. Marine and then as a longtime attorney in both the public and private sectors. 

Holder said he has also chosen Jones to lead a special U.S. Attorneys advisory group because of his passion for justice and fairness.

"This is a great day for Minnesota and for the Department of Justice," Holder said. "Not only will Todd serve as a superb U.S. attorney here in his home state, but he will also be an integral part of the justice department team that we are assembling in Washington D.C. to keep the American people safe, to restore the credibility of a department badly shaken by allegations of improper political interference and to reinvigorate our traditional law enforcement missions"

As chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee, Holder said Jones will help shape U.S. Justice Department policy.

"This is a great day for Minnesota and for the Department of Justice."

He also praised Jones' background. 

     Jones has worked in private practice as a trial lawyer since 2001 and before that, he served as a U.S. Marine Corps judge advocate until he was honorably discharged in 1998. He earned his law degree at the University of Minnesota. 

He also held the job of Minnesota's top federal prosecutor before, serving under President Clinton from 1998 to 2001.

Jones said he's excited to begin his second stint as U.S. Attorney and listed his priorities going forward. 

"Protecting the public by aggressively prosecuting all forms of economic crime, health care and mortgage fraud large and small, working with our tribal partners to enhance  public safety in Indian country, creating space in our communities that are experiencing violent crime through gang violence and drug trafficking," he said. "Those are all areas that we will have renewed and reinvigorated attention on, always keeping in mind that mission number one is protecting our country and focusing in on the national security challenges."

National security will no doubt be a major priority, as Jones is taking office in the midst of a federal investigation into the disappearances of about 20 Somali men from Minneapolis. The FBI is leading the investigation into links between the disappearances and al Shabab, a group the U.S. government has identified as a terrorist organization.

Jones and Holder both also pledged to maintain an ethic of non-political law enforcement. 

Jones takes over from interim U.S. Attorney Frank Magill, who replaced Rachel Paulose in 2007. She resigned amid the Bush Administration's scandal over the firing of U.S. Attorneys, as well as a local scandal over her own management practices. 

Former U.S. Attorneys and law enforcement officials on both sides of the aisle have praised Jones' management abilities and his respect for fairness and say he'll have no problem leaving politics behind as he assumes his new office.