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MIAMI — Andrew Lourie, chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Justice’s criminal division who was one of the lead prosecutors on the Jack Abramoff case, is jumping the fence. Lourie, 45, is joining the litigation boutique Kobre & Kim as a partner in the firm’s Washington office. That New York-based firm has in recent months been hiring away top federal prosecutors, including Matthew Menchel, former chief of the criminal division at the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Robert Henoch, formerly a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York. “The firm expanded into Washington D.C. and is now a major presence here,” Lourie said. “This was an opportunity I just had to grab. It was something that just came out of left field.” Lourie said his departure was not related to the upcoming presidential election, but Guy Lewis, a former U.S. attorney in Miami and a partner at Lewis Tein, thought otherwise. “I think you’ll see a number of very talented and experienced prosecutors leaving in the coming months, with the change of administration,” said Lewis. “Andy is on the front end of that curve.” Lourie, a graduate of Emory University School of Law, has bounced between Miami and Washington during his 16 years with the Department of Justice. He headed the West Palm Beach office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and served several details in Washington, including one as chief of public integrity. He is part of a group of top prosecutors in the criminal division of the Department of Justice that have been dubbed “The Miami Mafia.” “This is going to be a huge loss to the department and is going to create a vacuum,” said Lewis, a one-time boss of Lourie’s. “Andy is one of those few and far between prosecutors that’s got it all.” Lourie prosecuted one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, the $250 million Premium Sales case in Miami, as well as a KL Financial, a $195 million hedge fund fraud in South Florida and California. In Washington he supervised much of the prosecution of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Congressman Bob Ney and former Department of Interior Deputy Stephen Giles.

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