David Ogden, DOJ’s No. 2 in Command, Resigns After 10 Months

Dec 3, 2009 11:30 AM PST
WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden unexpectedly resigned Thursday morning to return to private law practice.

Justice Department officials had no comment why Ogden was leaving the agency’s No. 2 job after only 10 months on the job.

Ogden’s duties as the Justice Department’s chief operating officer involve resolving conflicts between U.S. attorneys over high-profile cases, including obscenity cases.

Ogden said Thursday that he had always planned to leave as soon as the department restored credibility to the Justice Department at a time when it was "under attack and when its traditional law enforcement missions had suffered" during the Bush administration.

Ogden said he helped put in place "a terrific senior management team that under the attorney general's leadership will build on this foundation."

The Justice Department "is in good hands, and I feel I can now return to the private practice I have missed these 13 months," he said.

Ogden is returning to the WilmerHale law firm, which he joined in 2001 after serving with Holder in senior positions in the Clinton administration Justice Department.

Ogden was confirmed earlier this year with a full senate panel voting 65-28 in favor of Ogden.

The nomination by President Obama to be Attorney General Eric Holder's second in command sparked an angry Senate debate over Ogden's legal career.

At Washington-based WilmerHale, Ogden’s clients included an array of industries, including the adult entertainment business.

Some of his former clients include Playboy Enterprises and PHE Inc., parent company of Adam & Eve.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Ogden sought to reassure senators that he would prosecute child pornographers aggressively, and he urged the lawmakers not to judge him by arguments he made on behalf of his past clients.

"Child pornography is abhorrent," Ogden said, adding later, "Issues of children and families have always been of great importance to me.

Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition's executive director, told XBIZ that the organization hopes the new deputy attorney general just follows the law.

"FSC’s concern is that his replacement be someone who will uphold and respect the Constitution," she said.

Ogden said he would stay in office until Feb. 5. if Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder nominate a replacement by that time.

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