Between the big trials, big investigations and big probes of his own managerial capability, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan’s had a lot on his mind lately. Look at this past week: While a task force investigated stock option backdating and two prosecutors from Ryan’s securities fraud unit wrapped up the trial of two former McKesson Corp. executives — the biggest white-collar trial the district has seen in years — other current and former assistant U.S. attorneys were being interviewed by DOJ staffers looking into whether there are problems with the office’s esprit de corps.
Of course, the bete noire in the long-running esprit de corps debate is attrition: While Ryan has insisted it’s no cause for concern, dozens of attorneys have departed the office since he took over in 2002, opening up the question of whether the office has suffered from the exodus of experienced prosecutors. That question just gets bigger:
Over the last couple of months, three more supervisors have left. There’s Haywood Gilliam, the securities chief who recently became a partner at Bingham McCutchen. Alex Tse, a supervisor in the civil division, is soon to leave the office to join the San Francisco city attorney. And this week, Anjali Chaturvedi, who was overseeing numerous large gang prosecutions — including two capital cases — announced she was heading off to become a partner at Nixon Peabody.
Tse and Chaturvedi couldn’t be reached for comment late Friday, and in an e-mail, office spokesman Luke Macaulay said Ryan was also incommunicado. “On Anjali Chaturvedi’s departure, she is scheduled to depart for private practice in mid-November,” he wrote. “The U.S. attorney is unable to provide comment because he’s currently on a flight.”
— Justin Scheck