Region's top prosecutor stepping down to be a federal judge

Andre Birotte
Andre Birotte

The U.S. attorney for the Central California District will step down as the region’s top prosecutor for a federal judgeship after his unanimous Senate confirmation Tuesday.

André Birotte Jr., 47, has served as one of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s four top federal prosecutors in the state since 2010.

“Throughout his career, André Birotte has shown a profound commitment to fairness and the rule of law, and he has earned the respect of the diverse communities of the Central District,” U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein said in a prepared statement. “Mr. Birotte’s performance as U.S. Attorney has been exemplary, and I’m confident that his tenure as U.S. District Judge will be equally impressive.”

In 1995 Birotte joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, where he prosecuted violent crime, fraud and narcotics-trafficking cases. He later became inspector general of the Los Angeles Police Department before being confirmed as U.S. attorney by the Senate in 2010.

During his tenure, his office handled investigations that led to the indictments of 18 current or former L.A. County sheriff's deputies for allegedly abusing jail inmates, as well as public corruption charges against California state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello. Birotte also made news when he declined to press charges against cyclist Lance Armstrong following a performance-enhancing drug investigation.

Birotte will replace Judge Gary Allen Feess, a Clinton appointee, who retired in March.

Office spokesman Thom Mrozek said Tuesday the attorney general will soon appoint an interim U.S. attorney. Mrozek said it is not yet clear when Birotte will take the bench.

Birotte was traveling on business Tuesday and couldn't immediately be reached for comment.