‘He’s a local hero come home’: High praise for outgoing U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite

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NEW ORLEANS - Outgoing U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Kenneth Polite is homegrown hero in the eyes of the community he has served since 2013.

Minutes after Polite announced that he was submitting his resignation, supportive statements and praise started pouring in from law enforcement and members of Congress.

"His service to this country ... has been exceptional, he came to an office that had gone through difficult times. He showed up with the enthusiasm to move it forward," said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey S. Sallet. "Kenneth is not only a man of words, but a man of action. He goes everywhere to talk to the youth of this city, to engage the leadership, the clergy, to bring his positive experiences to the community."

U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions has requested the resignations of 46 presidential appointed positions, Polite included. It's standard for most presidential transitions.

Kenneth Polite

Polite, 41, was appointed by President Barack Obama in September 2013, after former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten had to step down because two of his top prosecutors admitted to posting anonymous comments on news stories online.

Polite is a New Orleans native who grew up in the Ninth Ward and graduated as valedictorian of his high school before attending Harvard University and Georgetown Law School.

He oversaw many high-profile convictions during his tenure, most notably the corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

High-ranking Louisiana Republicans, including Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, sent letters this year on behalf of Polite, asking that the Trump administration not replace Polite.

“Kenneth has been a devoted public servant and tirelessly fought for justice throughout his tenure as U.S. Attorney,” said U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans. “After a unanimous confirmation in the U.S. Senate he returned to improve the community he called home. We appreciated his focus on removing criminals that hurt our families and the strong presence he and his wife have in the community."

U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy both thanked Polite for his service and said they will work to quickly confirm his replacement.