Neil McBride, U.S. Attorney, to resign

Neil McBride announced he stepping down. (Photo: Department of Justice)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Neil MacBride, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, is leaving his post after four years of overseeing numerous high-profile cases.

MacBride said Thursday his resignation is effective Sept. 13. He was appointed to the post in 2009.

Under MacBride, the Alexandria-based office pursued terrorism, corruption, human trafficking and white-collar prosecutions, and increased its emphasis on cases with international connections, including drug trafficking, arms dealing and piracy.

MacBride, a one-time chief counsel for then-Sen. Joe Biden, said serving as U.S. attorney is "a dream job" and praised the staff of 300 attorneys and others who work out of the district's offices in Alexandria, Richmond, Newport News and Norfolk.

He said in a phone interview that he has not yet decided what he'll do next. He said he is proud not only of the work his office did on high-profile priorities like national security, but also that, when appropriate, the office prosecuted street crimes and other offenses that had an impact on the quality of life for residents in the district.

"A lot of stuff we do never makes the papers," MacBride said.

Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement Thursday praising MacBride as "an exceptional leader, a committed public servant, and a brilliant attorney - handling complicated cases with extraordinary skill."

His office obtained a bribery conviction of former Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., and brought a major copyright piracy case against Kim Dotcom, founder of the Megaupload file-sharing site.

The office is also conducting an ongoing investigation of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, and has filed criminal charges against NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who has received asylum in Russia.

Recently, MacBride had been under consideration for appointment as FBI director.

The office said an acting U.S. attorney will be appointed until a replacement is confirmed by the Senate.