Tomochichi Federal Building and U.S Courthouse, Savannah Georgia. (Wikimedia Commons)
President Donald Trump’s pick to become U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia is an Augusta trial lawyer who is also a part-time magistrate, a judge advocate general and colonel in the Army National Guard and a former prosecutor who is one of the few to win a murder conviction without the body of the victim.
Bobby Christine is a partner with Christine & Evans, a law firm based in Evans just outside Augusta, a magistrate judge in Columbia County and a former assistant district attorney in Augusta.
After high school in Augusta, Christie went to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville on an ROTC scholarship before earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a law degree from Samford University in Alabama, according to a biography on his firm website. After law school, he worked for the Augusta district attorney for 10 years, becoming chief of the Columbia County division.
The firm bio calls Christine “one of only a few prosecutors in modern history to win a conviction for murder in a case where the body of the victim has never been found.”
The Augusta Chronicle reported in 1999 that Christine used science, police work and an audio recording to win the conviction of Rodney Richardson for murder and arson, even without a body. Christine told the jury in closing that Richardson killed Al Hamilton in Hamilton’s own bedroom, then burned the evidence. Christine also played for the jury an hour of excerpts of conversations between Richardson and his ex-wife during which he told her he killed Hamilton, her boyfriend, and that he would get away with it because the police had no body or murder weapon. The tape recording was her idea.
The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the conviction.
Christine left the district attorney’s office to start a private litigation practice in 2005.
Christine joined the military as a member of the National Guard at age 17 and was commissioned an officer at 19, according to his firm bio. He has been a combat engineer platoon leader and company executive officer, a judge advocate general (JAG) trial counsel and brigade judge advocate. He currently serves as State Judge Advocate for the Georgia National Guard, appointed to the position in October, 2012 by Governor Nathan Deal. As state judge advocate, he is the head military lawyer for the Georgia Army and Air National Guard, as well as chief civilian counsel for the Georgia Department of Defense, the largest division of Georgia’s state government. He leads and supervises military lawyers, support staff and civilian employees.
Called to active military duty February, 2003 through April, 2004, Christine served both as a JAG and a combat engineer with the 265th Engineer Group. For his service in Iraq he received the Global War on Terror medal, the Iraq Campaign medal, two Army Commendation Medals, the Bronze Star, and the Presidential Unit Citation for Gallantry.
“Bobby Christine has served our state and nation in countless ways, and I look forward to his continued service,” Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson said in a news release Friday evening after the president announced his latest round of nominations. “I applaud President Trump on another outstanding choice for U.S. attorney.”
The Southern District of Georgia includes 43 of Georgia’s 159 counties in the southeastern region of the state.
Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue also applauded the choice.
“Bobby Christine is an experienced legal professional and has served our state and nation for years,” Perdue said in the statement Isakson sent. “Once again President Trump made another great nomination. I look forward to working with Bobby through the Senate confirmation.”