CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon has resigned as the head federal prosecutor in Chicago, and his top deputy, Joel Levin, will take his place until the Trump administration picks a replacement.
Fardon was one of 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by the Obama administration who Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked to resign last week.
Fardon submitted his resignation Monday, and Levin, who had served as Fardon’s first assistant, will take over as acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago,” Fardon said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “I want to thank all of the talented men and women of the Office for their hard work and dedicated public service during my term.”
Fardon was appointed as the top federal prosecutor in Chicago in 2013, after Patrick Fitzgerald stepped down to enter private practice.
His most prominent case since then was the indictment of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to circumventing federal banking laws to cover up hush money payments to an unnamed “Individual A” to hide allegations Hastert sexually abused a student decades ago, while he was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.
Hastert is serving a 15-month prison term. At his sentencing hearing last year, he admitted for the first time to molesting two boys in the 1970s and 80s. He never faced sex abuse charges, because the statutes of limitations had expired. He is scheduled to be released from the federal prison in Rochester, Minnesota, in August.
Fardon also helped lead the Justice Department’s investigation of the Chicago Police Department last year, resulting in a scathing report that took CPD to task for systemic violations of civil rights, finding officers regularly have used excessive force and discriminated against minorities.
Before his time as the head of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago, Fardon made his name prosecuting Illinois politicians, including ex-Gov. George Ryan, and political operatives charged in public corruption cases.
Fardon, 50, grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. He graduated in 1988 from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, according to his bio posted on the website for the DOJ’s Northern District of Illinois.