U.S. Attorney for N.J. Craig Carpenito announces resignation

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito. (File photo)

The U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, has announced his resignation, effective Jan. 5.

Carpenito, who was appointed to the post in January 2018, is following a tradition of U.S. attorneys leaving when new presidential administrations take office so the new president can choose his own officials.

“Serving as the United States attorney has been the greatest professional honor of my lifetime,” he said in a prepared statement. “It’s a dream for any line (assistant U.S. attorney) to eventually lead the office that they love. Over the past three years, we have been through a lot — the longest shutdown in government history, a global pandemic and two tragic acts of violent extremism that led to the loss of precious lives.

“Through it all, we protected the great traditions of this office, the Department of Justice and the state that we all love and serve. For that, I am forever grateful.”

Carpenito followed acting U.S. attorney William Fitzpatrick in the office, succeeding U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, who served under President Barack Obama, and briefly under President Donald Trump.

During Carpenito’s time leading the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he reestablished the Violent Crimes Unit and created the Cybercrimes and Opioid units, as well as a Government Fraud Unit. He also increased the staff from 130 assistant U.S. attorneys to 155, plus 10 special assistant U.S. attorneys, and increased the office’s caseload from 870 the year before he arrived to more than 1,500 in fiscal 2020.

Carpenito noted he also led the nationwide COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force, and co-led the national Task Force on Violent Anti-Government Extremists.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig will serve as acting U.S. attorney upon Carpenito’s departure, until a full-time replacement is named. She is only the second woman to serve in the first assistant’s role, and will be the second woman to serve as U.S. attorney for New Jersey.

“Throughout my tenure, Rachael has been my partner and principal adviser on everything that I do,” Carpenito said. “I am extremely proud and honored that she will be the acting U.S. attorney when I leave. The office and its legacy could not be in better hands.”

Carpenito, who has a bachelor’s degree from Rider University and his J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law, was a partner at Alston & Bird LLP before returning the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He had been an assistant U.S. attorney from 2003 to 2008.