President Donald Trump has nominated a top aide to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to be the next U.S. attorney for Maryland.
Robert Kyoung Hur, 44, has worked since June as principal associate deputy attorney general under Rosenstein, the top federal prosecutor in Maryland from 2005 until his appointment this year to the No. 2 post in the Justice Department.
“Rob Hur is a brilliant lawyer who consistently demonstrates exceptional civility, professionalism and humility,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “As Maryland’s next United States Attorney, he will maintain the high standards of the office, coordinate effectively with our partners, and bring renewed energy to reducing violent crime and achieving other priorities.”
Hur served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland from 2007 to 2014. If confirmed, he would lead an office that has fought violent crime and corruption in Baltimore. The office has brought sweeping indictments against criminal gangs and public officials. Leaders have relied on it to pursue tougher sentences for gun-carrying repeat offenders.
The office is currently prosecuting the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force and an alleged drug crew that prosecutors say includes a member charged in the shooting death of 3-year-old McKenzie Elliott.
Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said Commissioner Kevin Davis “has a great relationship with the [Maryland U.S. attorney’s] office in general. He’s looking forward to having a great relationship with the nominee.
“The commissioner will likely meet with the nominee soon because that’s an intricate part of our crime fight,” Smith said.
During his seven years as a federal prosecutor in Maryland, Hur handled financial and regulatory offenses. Before that, he worked in the Justice Department as counsel to the assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, overseeing counterterrorism, corporate fraud and appellate issues.
One of the dozen cases Hur tried as a prosecutor involved the MS-13 gang. In July, Hur spoke at a White House briefing to discuss the Justice Department’s “aggressive efforts” to go after MS-13.
Jonathan Lenzner, an attorney who worked with Hur at the U.S. attorney’s office from 2010 to 2013, called him “one the most intelligent, engaging and charming prosecutors.”
“He’s the kind of public official who knows the name of everyone in the building, from the security guard to the janitor,” Lenzner said. “He’s conscientious, deliberate, and has a terrific sense of humor. He’s well liked and well-respected. He was willing to handle a wide variety of prosecutions.”
Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen said they did not recommend Hur to the White House but are “impressed with his record” with the Justice Department and welcomed his appointment. They noted his time working with Rosenstein.
“We look forward to supporting Mr. Hur’s nomination and working with him should he be confirmed by the Senate,” the Maryland Democrats said in a joint statement. “We are confident that Mr. Hur can fill the large shoes Mr. Rosenstein has left.”
Hur, who lives in Silver Spring, earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Harvard and a law degree from Stanford.
He clerked Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Judge Alex Kozinski in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Hur worked two stints for the law firm of King & Spalding. During the first, he was co-author of two papers on white-collar crime with Christopher A. Wray, who is now FBI director.
In 2016, he successfully defended Vascular Solutions Inc., a publicly traded medical-device manufacturer that was indicted on federal criminal charges relating to “off-label” promotion. The firm was acquitted of all charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning, has run the Maryland office since Rosenstein left for Washington. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby praised Schenning Wednesday.
“It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to work with ... Schenning throughout the transition,” Mosby said in a statement. “I congratulate Mr. Hur on his nomination, and look forward to continuing our federal and local partnership to create a safer Baltimore."
A spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan said the governor’s office played no role in the selection process. Spokesman Doug Mayer had no further comment.
Rosenstein was the longest-serving state U.S. attorney in the country when he was chosen for his current job. He was one of the only U.S. attorneys appointed by President George W. Bush to be kept on by the Obama administration.
Hur was one of seven U.S. attorney nominees announced by the White House on Wednesday. Others were John C. Anderson for New Mexico, Joseph D. Brown for the Eastern District of Texas, John H. Durham for Connecticut, Brandon J. Fremin for the Middle District of Louisiana, Ryan Patrick for the Southern District of Texas and McGregor W. Scott for the Eastern District of California.
Baltimore Sun reporters John Fritze and Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.