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U.S. Attorney William Hochul to retire October 28

File photo

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. has put in his retirement papers and will leave his high-profile position in three weeks.

Hochul has been with the Justice Department for nearly 30 years, since signing on in Washington in 1987. He moved back to his hometown in 1991 and worked his way up as a prosecutor, working on gang and national security cases, including the Lackawanna Six case.

He ha's also been a leader in fighting public corruption, especially Buffalo Police Department cases, and pushing hard against the opioid crisis in the area.

"It has been a great privilege to be able to achieve justice for those who have been targeted or hurt by vicious predators, unscrupulous fraudsters, and criminals of every type,” Hochul said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.    

Hochul was appointed the federal government's top lawyer in the 17-county district in 2009 and was confirmed to the position in 2010.

U.S. Attorney is a presidential appointment, subject to confirmation by the Senate, as his successor will be. Hochul was nominated for the post by President Obama in 2009 and confirmed by the Senate in 2010.

Local lawyer Carol Heckman is a former federal magistrate. She said Hochul has been very good at his job.

"He's got great integrity. He's got a huge amount of energy for the job and he's, definitely, a very serious prosecutor. He's very interested in prosecuting crime. When I was on the bench we didn't always see eye to eye but I would say he performed his duties very well," Heckman told WBFO.

Hochul is married to New York's lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul. He did not indicate what he plans to do after stepping down October 28. He has shceduled a news conference Thursday afternoon to talk about his future.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.