Illinois U.S. Attorney ousted, resigns in Biden Justice Department Trump Purge

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – United States Attorney John C. Milhiser announced today that he has submitted his resignation to the President, to be effective Feb. 28, 2021.

Mr. Milhiser thanked Senators Duckworth and Durbin, and Representatives Davis, LaHood, and former Representative Shimkus for their support in recommending him as a nominee to President Donald J. Trump. Milhiser was nominated in August 2018 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in January 2019. Pending Senate confirmation, Milhiser was appointed to the position by the federal judiciary in the Central District on Oct. 31, 2018.

“It has been an honor to serve as United States Attorney. I was privileged to work alongside the men and women in law enforcement across the 46 counties served by the office,” said Milhiser. “We owe these selfless public servants our gratitude as they risk their lives each day protecting all of us.”

Milhiser added, “When I accepted this position, I knew this day would come. My plan was simple – to do my best each day to make our community a safer, better place, until I’m asked to leave. And, now, I’ve been asked to leave by the Biden administration.”

During Milhiser’s tenure, the U.S. Attorney’s Office successfully prosecuted numerous defendants including the weeks-long trials of Brent Christenson who, in July 2019, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the June 2017 murder of visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang, and of 13 members of a Peoria street gang convicted and sentenced for acts of violence including murder, attempted murder, and drug trafficking. Pending cases include civil rights charges against three Illinois correctional officers who allegedly assaulted an inmate, who was restrained and handcuffed behind his back, and who later died, and the recent indictment of former Illinois senator and gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann for fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion related to his alleged misuse of campaign funds.

As U.S. Attorney, Milhiser focused on building strong partnerships with local, state, and federal law enforcement and with the community. While guiding the office during the longest-ever government shutdown and an unprecedented global pandemic, Milhiser initiated and conducted numerous training and educational events. This included a new initiative known as BLAST, Building Lasting Relationships Between Police and Community, that not only introduced high school students to career opportunities in criminal justice, but also promoted greater mutual understanding between citizens and law enforcement officers.

“I appreciate the opportunity to have served the people of Central Illinois and to lead the lawyers and staff who will continue the important work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Milhiser.

Prior to serving as U.S. Attorney, Milhiser served eight years as the elected State’s Attorney in Sangamon County, Springfield, Ill., where he partnered with the court and service providers to establish specialized court programs for non-violent, first-time drug offenders, defendants with mental health needs, and veterans with specialized needs. A strong advocate for victims, Milhiser established a program that hosts a courthouse facility dog to assist victims and witnesses as they participate in the prosecution of violent crimes.

The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois serves as the chief law enforcement officer for the 46 counties across the mid-section of the state. The district’s headquarters office is in Springfield with district offices in Peoria, Rock Island, and Urbana, Ill. The office is responsible for conducting federal criminal prosecutions and protecting the interests of the United States by pursuing and defending against claims in civil litigation.