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Robert Cleary may be running the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, but he intends to remain a career prosecutor who tries cases. Cleary, 44, who gained fame as the Unabomber prosecutor, has an April 11 trial date to prosecute Edison Police Officer Robert Spinello, indicted in early 1999 for armed bank robbery. Some U.S. attorneys tried cases, while others, such as Cleary’s immediate predecessor did not. Cleary says he intends to grab cases when time permits, and based on his first trial as U.S. attorney he’s not grabbing headline cases. In fact, though he will be first chair in the Spinello trial, he’ll be “splitting the chores down the middle” with Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Queler, a rookie in the office’s criminal division who has been practicing less than four years and has been with the office about a year. “I’m doing it for selfish reasons,” says Cleary, adding, “I’m a career prosecutor. I love trials. The more I do the better I get. I even love trial preparation.” But he also says, “I believe in leading by example, and I’m not going to ask assistants to do something I wouldn’t do, whether its trials, appeals or conducting investigations.”

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