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Federal prosecutor resigns in Georgia after audio reveals criticism by Trump

Byung J Pak was appointed by the outgoing president.

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Donald Trump (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Donald Trump (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Donald Trump (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The senior federal prosecutor in Atlanta has left his position, a day after an audio recording was made public in which Donald Trump called him a “never-Trumper”.

Byung J “BJay” Pak, who was appointed by Mr Trump, announced his resignation as US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia in a news release. The statement did not say why he was leaving or what he plans to do next.

“It has been the greatest honour of my professional career to have been able to serve my fellow citizens as the US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia,” Mr Pak said in the release.

“I have done my best to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice for my fellow citizens in a fair, effective and efficient manner. I am grateful to President Trump and the United States Senate for the opportunity to serve, and to former attorneys general Sessions and Barr for their leadership of the Department.”

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Byung J Pak (Ron Harris/AP)

Byung J Pak (Ron Harris/AP)

Byung J Pak (Ron Harris/AP)

Mr Trump on Saturday had a phone call with Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, during which the president suggested the state’s top election official might find enough votes to reverse the outcome of the presidential race in the state in his favour.

A recording of that call was obtained on Sunday by news outlets including the Associated Press.

During the roughly hour-long call, Mr Trump advanced numerous false claims. Referring to investigations into his baseless claims of voter fraud, he said: “You have your never-Trumper US attorney there.”

Mr Pak was sworn in as US attorney in the Atlanta-based Northern District of Georgia in October 2017 after being appointed by Mr Trump.

He was a Republican state legislator from 2011 to 2017, served as an assistant US attorney from 2002 to 2008, and was working in private practice at the time of his appointment.

In announcing Mr Pak’s nomination, the White House said he and five other nominees for US attorney posts “share the president’s vision for ‘Making America Safe Again'”.

Mr Pak’s resignation comes nearly a month after the departure of Charlie Peeler, who was appointed by Mr Trump in 2017 to serve as US attorney for the Macon-based Middle District of Georgia.

Mr Peeler resigned on December 11, saying in a news release that he planned to return to private practice with an Atlanta law firm.

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Brad Raffensperger (John Bazemore/AP)

Brad Raffensperger (John Bazemore/AP)

Brad Raffensperger (John Bazemore/AP)

During the phone call, Mr Trump told Mr Raffensperger: “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

In an interview on Monday, Mr Raffensperger told the Associated Press he is confident in Georgia’s general election outcome, despite an electoral college challenge supported by some Republicans in Congress.

“If they support a challenge of the electors for Georgia, they’re wrong, dead wrong,” he said.

“In Georgia, we did get it right. I’m not happy with the result, as a Republican, but it is the right result based on the numbers that we saw cast.”

Georgia counted its votes three times before certifying Mr Biden’s win by a 11,779-vote margin.

“President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions,” Mr Raffensperger told Mr Trump on the call. “We don’t agree that you have won.”

Online Editors


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