Who will Fishman pick as First Assistant?

The convention wisdom is that Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra, Jr. will end his longtime service with the Department of Justice when Paul Fishman takes over, rather than drop down to another post within the office of the federal prosecutor. The 55-year-old Marra has spent 23 years on the government payroll as an Assistant U.S. Attorney; he won’t be struggling to find law firms willing to offer him a partnership.

Look for First Assistant Michele Brown, who made some news earlier this month when she attended a politically-oriented social gathering at the home of her former boss, Christopher Christie, to end her seventeen-year affiliation with the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Fishman has given no indication of his choices for some of the top positions in his office, including First Assistant, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, Deputy U.S. Attorney, Counsel to the U.S. Attorney, Criminal Chief, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys in charge of the Trenton and Camden offices. During his eleven years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Fishman headed the Criminal and Narcotics divisions, and was First Assistant for four years.

It is realistic to think that Fishman will move career prosecutors up the ladder. Deputy U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick; Marc Larkins, the counsel to the U.S. Attorney; Charles McKenna, the Chief of the Criminal Division; and James Lynch, a former Acting Camden County Prosecutor who now heads the U.S. Attorney’s Camden office.

New federal prosecutors typically combine career federal prosecutors with some new hires. Christie made Marra, a Democrat and a career prosecutor, his number two, but his number three was Lee Solomon, a former Republican Assemblyman, Freeholder and Camden County Prosecutor who lost his seat to Louis Greenwald in 1995.

(Corrected) Fishman must also pick a new Security Manager for the U.S. Attorney’s office. Joel Trella, a former Republican Sheriff from Bergen County, retired in December.

If Christie wins the gubernatorial race, look for Marra and Brown to play key roles in his administration – possibly as Attorney General and Counsel to the Governor. Brown could also be a candidate for Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court when Virginia Long reaches the mandatory retirement age of seventy in 2012.

Correction: Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Chiesa, who prosecuted former Senate President John Lynch, left the U.S. Attorney’s office last Friday to return to private practice.

Who will Fishman pick as First Assistant?