Courts & Crime

Justice Department’s Number Two stepping down

High-level departures continue at the Justice Department, as Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole made public Thursday his intention to depart.

Cole, who has been responsible for day-to-day operations of the sprawling department, will be following Attorney General Eric Holder out the door sometime in the next few months.

“During times of great challenge and unprecedented resource constraints, I have relied upon Jim to ensure that the Justice Department operates as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Holder said in a statement.

Cole was sworn in as the Deputy Attorney General on Jan. 3, 2011. The graduate of the University of Colorado and University of California-Hastings law school had previously served for 13 years, first as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division, and later as the Deputy Chief of the Division's Public Integrity Section, the office that handles investigation and prosecution of corruption cases.

While in private practice in 1995, Cole served as Special Counsel to the House Ethics Committee, leading an investigation into allegations that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had improperly used tax-exempt money for partisan purposes and misled the Committee in its inquiry.