Citing "unforeseen circumstances," Atlanta-based U.S. Attorney Byung "BJ" Pak announced that he would be resigning effective immediately, Talking Points Memo reported. Pak had said that he intended to stay on until Jan. 20 when U.S. attorneys are typically rehired or dismissed by the incoming administration's attorney general.
It isn't unusual for a U.S. attorney to step down if there are other opportunities before the incoming administration, but it flies in the face of the promise by Pak to stay. The only thing that has changed since his pledge is that President Donald Trump had a phone call with the Georgia secretary of state and demanded that he commit election fraud.
During the call, Trump complained there was a "never-Trumper U.S. attorney" in Atlanta. But the Associated Press noted that "Pak is a longtime Republican who also served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 until 2017. He was nominated by Trump to become the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia in 2017."
It prompted several legal experts and former federal prosecutors to speculate about the "unforeseen circumstances."
Fordham University Law professor Jed Shugerman tweeted the story, asking if his followers thought that the resignation was a "coincidence."
"Who can bring charges?" asked one of his followers. "It is mind-boggling that Trump can act with such impunity." Shugerman explained that a Georgia state prosecutor would bring such charges. "I can easily foresee the Atlanta area."
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti similarly asked what those "unforeseen circumstances" could possibly be.
The lead federal prosecutor in Atlanta cited “unforeseen circumstances” as the reason for his departure. What circ… https://t.co/O0hWyqldP7— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti)1609784447.0
I’m “soliciting” your help: Was this just a coincidence? Or a “perfect call” to step down early? EXCLUSIVE: Atlant… https://t.co/hwanP2850X— Jed Shugerman (@Jed Shugerman)1609783773.0