The San Francisco Chronicle reports US Attorney Kevin Ryan resigned Tuesday. Ryan's work included BALCO, and other important cases.
U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan announced his resignation Tuesday as chief federal prosecutor for coastal Northern California, ending a 4 1/2-year tenure marked by high-profile cases on stock options fraud and steroids in sports and some high-level criticism of his management.
Ryan, 49, reached a "mutually agreeable decision with Washington'' to step down, spokesman Luke Macaulay said. Macaulay noted that Ryan "serves at the pleasure of the president'' but declined to say whether President Bush had asked him to resign.
California Senator Diane Feinstein recently started a campaign hammering the Bush administration for using political patronage in appointing federal judges and persecutors. Ryan was named by the Wall Street Journal as a target.
t's not clear what effect Ryan's departure will have on his office's investigation of Bay Area companies for allegedly concealing their backdating of stock options granted to top executives. Ryan appointed a task force last summer to look into the practice and has obtained two criminal indictments and a flurry of executive resignations.
His resignation came amid accusations by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and other Democrats that Bush was pushing U.S. attorneys out of office so he could appoint their replacements without Senate confirmation under a little-noticed provision of the USA Patriot Act passed by Congress in 2001.
Citing a Wall Street Journal article Tuesday that listed Ryan among seven prosecutors around the nation who reportedly were being forced out, Feinstein said she was co-sponsoring legislation that would reinstate a 120-day limit on the president's power to name an interim U.S. attorney without Senate approval. After 120 days, federal judges would make the interim appointments, as they did before the Patriot Act.
The Chronicle comments on Ryan's BALCO work:
In perhaps Ryan's best-known prosecution, the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and four other defendants pleaded guilty to supplying illegal drugs to star athletes, including the Giants' Barry Bonds. No athletes have been charged, although a grand jury is investigating whether Bonds lied when he denied knowingly taking steroids.