U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite submits resignation; FBI, others react

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite resigns

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - U.S. Attorney Kenneth Police is preparing to leave his post as the nation's attorney general sought the resignations of nearly 50 top prosecutors appointed by the Obama administration. Polite is getting high marks for the way in which he ran federal prosecutions in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

In 2013, Polite took over a troubled U.S. Attorney's Office but proceeded to tackle violent crime cases and white-collar crime.

Recently he oversaw the successful prosecution of members of the notorious 39ers gang, and months earlier he successfully prosecuted former St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed and got a guilty plea from former St. Charles Parish District Attorney Harry Morel.

"The public demands that we have zero tolerance for this kind of criminal conduct," Polite said in commenting on the Reed Case.

In a statement issued Friday he said he will step down March 24.

"Every U.S. attorney's office has a balance between the high profile white-collar crime and the street crime, and there were still many white-collar crimes being prosecuted. I think the general public just didn't know about it because Mr. Polite didn't put them out in the media as Mr. Letten did," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Polite became the area's top federal prosecutor after longtime U.S. Attorney Jim Leten retired amid a blistering scandal about some of his top lieutenants posting caustic comments online about people under federal investigation or facing prosecution.

"He came into an office that had gone through some difficult times prior to his arrival, and Kenneth showed up with the energy, enthusiasm and credibility to move the office and continue to move it forward," said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Jeffrey Sallet.

Raspanti said Polite enjoyed respect.

"Polite's style and his way of running the office was very well respected by his employees, his prosecutors, and by the defense bar," said Raspanti.

"He accomplished a lot in the office in terms of making sure that the staff did not misrepresent or in any way cross the line, in terms of ethics and professional conduct," said political analyst Silas Lee.

Sallet said Polite plays it straight, and is not affected by outside influences.

"He operated in a complete apolitical manner," said Sallet.

Polite grew up in New Orleans amid crime and poverty but pushed past that to graduate from Harvard and Georgetown Universities.

"And really is a positive story for all of the youth in this city," Sallet said.

"It will be interesting to see who will take his place, that is going to be the big question, in terms of, following in the footsteps of Ken Polite in style, demeanor and professionalism," said Lee.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.