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U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Ky. Announces Resignation

United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr. has announced his resignation, effective midnight, Sunday, January 24, 2021.

Following his resignation, he will  enter the private practice of law in Lexington. 

“It has been a true honor and privilege to lead this office, an office that has a demonstrated commitment to fairness and justice, and a long history of handling tough and  important cases,” Duncan said in an announcement. “I began my career in this office nearly sixteen years ago as an assistant United States attorney and have been blessed to work with many talented and dedicated men and women along the way. I would like to thank my colleagues in the office for their hard  work and commitment in support of our mission. We are fortunate to have so many dedicated  and professional attorneys and support staff, who make our Office successful."

Duncan served the Eastern District of Kentucky, which includes the cities of Covington (and Northern Kentucky), Lexington, Ashland, Somerset and Pikeville.

“Throughout my career, I have also been privileged to work with our law enforcement  partners at the federal, state, and local levels," Duncan said. "These brave men and women selflessly serve and  protect the citizens of the Eastern District of Kentucky and beyond. I have been honored to  partner with them in the protection of the public and the pursuit of justice.”  

Duncan's announcement included a list of achievements, sich as prosecuting a total of 525 defendants in the past two fiscal years through the Project Safe Neighborhoods or Project Guardian programs.

The office saw increases in federal prosecutions during Duncan’s tenure and the total number of criminal defendants prosecuted increased by more than 18 percent from fiscal years 2017 to 2018, and 27 percent from fiscal years 2018 to 2019.

Over the past three years, the office has collected and received judgments for  more than $92 million in criminal penalties, civil recoveries, forfeited assets, and restitution. 

Duncan was appointed by President Donald Trump as the twenty-third presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Duncan was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on November 9, 2017, and he was sworn in as United States Attorney on November 21, 2017. 

As United States Attorney, Duncan also served nationally as the chairman of the Heroin Opioid Working Group for the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, providing advice and recommendations about policy initiatives to combat the opioid crisis across the country.

Prior to becoming a federal prosecutor, Duncan served as a law clerk to Senior United States District Court Judge Henry R. Wilhoit, Jr., in Ashland. Duncan grew up in Inez, in Martin  County, along the Commonwealth’s border with West Virginia. Duncan graduated from Sheldon Clark High School in 1996. He then graduated from Centre College in Danville in 2000, with a bachelor's degree in English and minor in History. Duncan received his law degree in May 2003, from the University of Kentucky College of Law. 

“I was raised in Kentucky, went to school in Kentucky, and have spend the majority of my  legal career working with law enforcement and prosecuting cases in Kentucky,” said Duncan. “Having the opportunity to serve Kentucky, as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District  of Kentucky, has been an enormous honor and privilege.”  

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served,” said Duncan. “While leaving the Office is definitely bittersweet, I am excited to start a new chapter. I am confident that the Office will  continue its outstanding work, enforcing the law and pursuing justice on behalf of the people of the Eastern District of Kentucky.” 

The Eastern District of Kentucky encompasses the 67 easternmost counties in the state.

-Staff report

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