The federal prosecutor who pursued criminal convictions of former agriculture commissioner Richie Farmer and other Kentucky public officials is resigning.
On Tuesday, Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, announced his resignation, effective Jan. 13. It is common for political appointees to step down when a president of a different party is elected.
“The opportunity to serve as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky has been a distinct honor,” Harvey said in a written announcement. “I will be forever grateful for the trust placed in me by President Obama and the opportunity to serve in the Department of Justice during such consequential times.”
Harvey has served in the office since May 14, 2010, according to the release.
“I am inspired by the tremendous work of the state, local and federal law enforcement communities with which I have served, and I will always treasure the chance to work alongside the exceptional staff of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky,” Harvey said. “We have accomplished a great deal together, and their commitment to the cause of justice will continue.”
In addition to the conviction of Farmer, the former University of Kentucky basketball star and two-term state agriculture commissioner, Harvey’s office obtained convictions of Timothy Longmeyer, former secretary of the Personnel Cabinet and former deputy attorney general of Kentucky; Timothy Conley, former Morgan County judge-executive; former state Rep. Keith Hall; Robert Porter, former mayor of Paintsville; and Arch Turner, former superintendent of the Breathitt County Public Schools.
“Under Kerry’s leadership, his office has played a crucial role in the Justice Department’s initiatives to prosecute fraud, corruption and white-collar crime,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in Tuesday’s announcement. “And he has been a visionary leader in our work to end the devastating opioid epidemic, joining with state and local authorities to hold accountable those who illegally distribute heroin, prescription drugs and other substances that ravage our communities.”
During his time in the office, Harvey served on the National Heroin Task Force, served three years on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and established the U.S. Attorney’s Heroin Education Action Team, according to the announcement.
The Heroin Education Action Team, or HEAT, released a video campaign in October that documented heroin’s effect on people who are addicted to the drug and their families.
Carlton S. Shier IV will take leadership of the office as acting U.S. Attorney for the district on Jan. 14, according to the office.