FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017 PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
U.S. Attorney Magidson Announces His Resignation
HOUSTON – United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson has
announced that he will resign as chief law enforcement officer for the Southern
District of Texas (SDTX) effective midnight March 10, 2017.
“It has been privilege and a honor to serve as the United
States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas,” said Magidson. “It has
been a hallmark of my administration to ensure that our office lived up to the
ideals of justice. The ability to everyday protect the interests of the United
States has truly been a great blessing and a hallmark of my career. I am
confident that our office will continue to live up to these ideals.”
Magidson was nominated by former President Barack Obama
in June 2011 and began serving as U.S. Attorney for the district on Sept. 30,
2011, following confirmation by the Senate. As the leader of one of the busiest
districts in the nation, Magidson oversaw nearly 370 employees, including
approximately 180 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the 7th largest district in the
country, covering 43,000 miles and representing 8.3 million people. His
resignation today brings to a close nearly 35 years of federal law enforcement
The Southern District of Texas saw a wide variety of
issues due to the large metropolitan area of Houston and proximity to the
border that Magidson equally considered a priority. In his five and a half
years as U.S. Attorney, prosecutors in his office convicted nearly 40,000
He believed in protecting this district and held national
security as one of his primary concerns, recently securing the conviction of a
24-year-old man of attempting to provide material support to ISIL<https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdtx/pr/iraqi-refugee-convicted-attempting-provide-material-support-isil>.
Weeding out public corruption, civil rights and protecting people from the
harms associated with illegal immigration and human smuggling were also
Magidson also combatted the proliferation of
technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children with cases
brought as a result of Project Safe Childhood. The SDTX actively supported this
initiative through coordination of federal, state and local law enforcement
efforts to prosecute predators and rescue child victims. Under his leadership,
prosecutors fought to help bring criminals to justice and protect the most
vulnerable members of our society. The SDTX convicted, on average, one
defendant each week during his tenure.
Trafficking in persons is a form of modern-day slavery
and a particular problem in the SDTX with its many miles of border with Mexico.
Magidson placed a high emphasis on prosecuting those traffickers who often prey
on the poor, frequently unemployed or underemployed and who may lack access to
social safety nets. One such example was the conviction of 68-year-old woman
behind a 14-defendant sex trafficking ring operating in Houston. This notable case
is one of the most significant in scope and magnitude to be tried to a verdict
of guilty on all counts, and one of the few in which as many as 12 victims of
an international sex trafficking scheme came forward to testify at trial. The
defendant later received life in prison.<https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdtx/pr/sex-trafficking-ring-leader-gets-life-federal-prison>
Aggressively prosecuting drug traffickers through the
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) was also a top priority,
as was the targeting of criminals involved in violent crime with significant
prosecutions for bank and armored robberies as well as firearms offenses.
Finally, Magidson led the office in its fight to combat
fraud throughout the district. Magidson believed in protecting the interests of
the U.S. and the citizens of the district by targeting identity thieves,
telemarketers, tax evaders and persons engaged in insurance fraud, bank fraud,
wire fraud, mail fraud, mortgage fraud and fraud committed against federal agencies.
Additionally, the SDTX consistently ranked as one of highest in terms of
federal health care fraud prosecutions throughout the nation.
During his tenure, the office’s civil division also
handled a large caseload of civil litigation in some of the most difficult and
important cases the government faces, including resolution of the border fence
issues, defending serious medical malpractice claims and recovering millions in
criminal debt and civil fraud. In 2015, Magidson also established a new Civil Rights
Section within its Civil Division that has the authority to investigate and to
remedy civil rights violations within the district.
Prior to serving as U.S. Attorney, Magidson served as an
Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) in the SDTX since 1983. For most of that time,
he was the OCDETF Regional Coordinator for the Southwest Region, which includes
all of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and the Central and Southern
Districts of California and encompasses 11 federal judicial districts. The
OCDETF program targets the most significant drug trafficking and related money
laundering organizations operating in the United States. Previously, as chief
of the Narcotics Division, he supervised assigned AUSAs in addition to his
regional OCDETF coordination duties.
In 2008, Magidson was called upon to serve as the Harris
County District Attorney upon appointment of then Texas Governor Rick Perry. As
the District Attorney of the third most populous county in the United States,
he managed an office with more than 300 prosecutors and investigators.
Cognizant of his experience and accomplishments, the
Department of Justice asked Magidson to serve under then Attorney General Janet
Reno as the director for the Executive Office for OCDETF in Washington, D.C.,
from May 1996 through May 1997. In that role, he was responsible for a broad
range of management, financial and administrative duties and supervised a staff
consisting of professional and support staff deemed necessary for performing
the duties of the office.
Prior to his federal career, Magidson served as an
Assistant District Attorney in Harris County. During that time, he served as
the chief felony prosecutor in the 177th District Court and was responsible for
the prosecution of major felony crimes including capital murders, rapes,
robberies, burglaries, kidnappings and more.
Magidson graduated from the University of Maryland and
holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law in