Craig Carpenito Craig Carpenito

Craig Carpenito, an Alston & Bird litigator and former federal prosecutor, has been appointed interim U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Carpenito has been seen as the front-runner for the state’s top federal law enforcement job for several months, but the White House has yet to make a nomination for that job. His interim appointment, announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, came just as acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick was about to reach the end of his 300-day term.

Carpenito is co-chairman of Alston & Bird’s Litigation and Trial Practice Group and its Government and Internal Investigations Team. He served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey from 2005 to 2008.

Between August 2000 and September 2005, Carpenito was senior counsel in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, New York regional office. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and his law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey.

“Craig Carpenito has experience in private practice, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and as an Assistant United States Attorney,” Sessions said in a statement. “He has successfully prosecuted white collar criminals and fraudsters, and as Interim United States Attorney for New Jersey, he will continue to put criminals out of business—and behind bars.”

Carpenito’s interim appointment has a term of 120 days or until he receives a presidential appointment under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. That act also sets the 300-day term limit for acting U.S. attorneys. Fitzpatrick took over as acting U.S. attorney after former U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman was one of the 46 Obama administration holdover appointees who were asked to resign in March 2016.

Fitzpatrick, whose 300th day on the job is Thursday, is set to resume his role as first assistant U.S. attorney.

Speculation about the likely nominee for the U.S. attorney job initially focused on Geoffrey Berman, but supporters of Carpenito made a push for their candidate last spring. They include all of the state’s five Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives—Chris Smith, Frank LoBiondo, Tom MacArthur, Leonard Lance and Rodney Frelinghuysen—who signed a letter to President Donald Trump supporting Carpenito for the U.S. attorney post.