Presidential Appointee U.S. Attorney Byung J.Pak for Northern Georgia Submits Resignation Due To Unnamed Cause
United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia – Byung J. “BJay” Pak has announced his resignation effective January 4, 2021. Byung Pak was appointed as the chief federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Georgia by President Donald Trump on July 17, 2020. He was sworn in the Office on October 10, 2020, making him the first-ever Korean-American to hold the position of U.S. Attorney. After serving as the top federal prosecutor at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia for over three years, Mr. Pak evacuated his position and is now departing the Office.
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Speculations for U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak’s Stepping Down
A memo regarding Pak’s resignation was sent out on Monday, claiming that he is to leave his position due to ‘unforeseen circumstances,’ despite originally planning to remain on the seat until Inauguration Day, on January 20, 2021. There are no indications as to what the ‘unforeseen circumstances’ might have been; however, speculations are linked to an audio recording made public, which contained a conversation between President Donald Trump, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and his allies. The audio recording is said to include documentation of how President Trump pressured the state’s top election officials to aid him through the Presidential elections in order to overturn the votes, wherein President-elect Joe Biden came first by a matter of approximately 12,000 votes. Moreover, President Donald Trump was heard in the recording referencing a “never-Trumper U.S. Attorney there.” It remains unclear as to whether the statement was made as a reference to Byung Pak. Still, the recording seemed to center on President Trump talking about the debunked accusations of electoral fraud in Georgia, including the case in Fulton County. To read more about how the electoral college vote works read more here.
Legal Career of U.S. Attorney Byung Pak
United States Attorney Byung J. Pak was previously in private practice as an Associate Attorney prior to joining the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2002, and consequently beginning his government service. For six years, he served the Office for the Northern District of Georgia, mainly focusing on investigations and prosecutions of white-collar crimes. He also managed to establish his skills and expertise in law enforcement wiretaps and complex trials in this position. In 2008, U.S. Attorney Pak returned to private practice as a Litigation and White Collar Criminal Defense Partner in Schiff Hardin LLP, and subsequently a White Collar and Litigation Partner in Ballard Spahr LLP, serving for over three years in each of the private firms. From 2008 to 2015, United States Attorney Byung Pak put the focus on prosecuting white-collar criminal defense. In those years, he also managed to become a Founder and Leader of the Korea Practice.
Later on, U.S. Attorney Pak served as a State Representative in the Georgia House of Representatives for six years, from 2011 to 2017, where he represented a part of Gwinnett County. Prior to joining the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, U.S Attorney Pak was first a Partner at the Chalmers Pak Burch & Adams LLC for two years, from 2015 to 2017. United States Attorney Byung J. Pak became Top Federal Prosecutor for the Northern District of Georgia in October of 2017.
As the Chief Prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Byung Pak served on several national committees and led a wide-range public corruption investigation of the Atlanta City Hall. He once served as the Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and a Vice-Chair of the Committee on Management, People, and Performance. He was also an active member of the Domestic Violence and White-Collar Fraud Working Groups, the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice Technology Working Group, and worked with a Committee to develop the standards for a National Decertification Index, which tracks the incidents involving excessive use of force by police officers.
During the investigation on public officials for corruption, United States Attorney Byung J. Pak has devoted significant resources in an attempt to fully unravel the truth regarding where the public funds go and if they are appropriately managed and spent. The investigations revealed several acts of corruption and injustice, which brings trial seven guilty pleas of contractors and city officials, alongside four indictments. In addition, two allegedly corrupt public officials were Atlanta City’s former Chief Financial Officer Jim Beard and Political Consultant Mitzi Bickers.
Legacy as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia
Throughout his three-year service as a United States Attorney, Byung Pak has made a lot of changes in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, where significant developments were made in the three different departments of the Office – the Criminal, Civil, and Administrative departments. In the Criminal Division, relationships with the local, state, and federal law enforcement partners were strengthened in order to be more efficient in the investigation and prosecution processes, particularly in targeting violent crimes. An initiative backed by statistics was also built to help once-violent-offenders to reenter society from incarceration. This program – the Innovative Prevention and Reentry Initiative – is in collaboration with the Credible Messenger Program and was shown to be highly effective in reducing recidivism. Moreover, during the service of United States Attorney Byung J. Pak, the Office effectively pursued and prosecuted a number of priority cases, which resulted in an increase in the number of criminal cases prosecuted by over 30%, in contrast to FY17. The Office also tackled various cases, including those that involved cybercrime, drug delivery resulting in death, drug distribution, drug trafficking, environmental crimes, exploitation of minors, fraud, illegal immigration, illegal prescribing by medical professionals, and insider trading, and public corruption.
In the Civil Division of the Office, United States Attorney Byung J. Pak was able to maintain providing outstanding service in a wide area of functions, including defending federal agencies and employees in varying civil matters such as civil rights, discrimination cases, immigration, and prisoner litigation. A highly successful Affirmative Civil Enforcement was also brought about by delivering cases and discussing terms regarding the return of millions of taxpayer dollars fraudulently obtained from individuals and businesses.
Within the three years that U.S. Attorney Pak served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Administrative Division is said to have been exceeding productive, as were the result of the current pandemic, and of having the longest government shutdown in the United States. The Administrative Division has efficiently responded to the demands due to the drastic changes that occurred during the first months of lockdown and has handled a vast array of issues related to the coronavirus, including the acquisition of safety equipment, employee assistance, sanitation of workspaces, and telework policies and procedures. With all of the changes and new information that we’re constantly coming, United States Attorney Byung J. Pak always made efforts to reach out to the Northern District of Georgia citizens directly. He has made public appearances, on television or radio, to keep the public updated and well informed of what is transpiring and what the United States Attorney’s Office does.
Statements from U.S. Attorney Byung Pak
“It has been the greatest honor of my professional career to have been able to serve my fellow citizens as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia,” said U.S Attorney Pak. He states that through almost a decade of service in the Department of Justice, he truly appreciates the fulfilling moments of collaborating sincerely with law enforcement partners to keep the communities safe and serve the people. United States Attorney Byung Pak further said, “I have witnessed first-hand the fortitude and grace of victims of crime and have taken to heart the awesome responsibility of speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
United States Attorney Byung J. Pak asserts that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is not without experienced leaders, fearless colleagues, and dedicated personnel. These people believe to be those who acknowledge the importance of working effectively together for the greater benefit, especially to serve and protect the citizens and bring justice. “Their roles in fulfilling the mission of the office of pursuing justice cannot be underestimated,” said U.S. Attorney Pak. He commends all of the staff and employees of the United States Attorney’s Office. He says, “while the public words are mine, the accomplishments belong to them.”
Updated: January 6, 2021