Robert Duncan Jr.

Robert Duncan Jr.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky will be stepping down on Jan. 24, according to announcement released Monday.

U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr. announced his resignation would become effective at midnight on Jan. 24. From there, Duncan said he intends to enter into private law practice in Lexington.  

U.S. Attorneys are political appointees made by the President — whenever there is a change of administration, it is fairly routine for a U.S. Attorney to step down to clear the way for a new appointment.

The U.S. Attorney for Western Kentucky, Russell Coleman, also tendered his resignation, effective Jan. 20.

In his departing announcement, Duncan said serving as the U.S. Attorney of Eastern Kentucky “has been a true honor and privilege.”

Serving 16 years a federal prosecutor, Duncan was appointed to the top slot in in 2017, assuming the position in November of that year following U.S. Senate confirmation. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Duncan worked drug, violent crime, white collar, environmental crime and child exploitation cases.

During his tenure, Duncan focused on cracking down on violent crime, drugs and public corruption in the area.

According to his announcement, Duncan's office prosecuted 525 people, mostly on federal firearms violations in an effort to curb violent crime. His office also partnered up with the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force to crack down on pain killers and spearheaded the prosecution of Gerald Lundergan and Dale Emmons on campaign contribution violations.

Duncan is a native of Inez and got his first taste in the federal system as a law clerk for Judge Henry R. Wilhoit Jr. in Ashland.

While Duncan's announcement made no mention of the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building, Coleman in the Western District vowed to help his successor prosecute anyone involved in the insurrection.

“Finally, I share in the sentiments of my fellow U.S. Attorneys around the country who were shocked, appalled and saddened at the violent mob that stormed our Capitol on January 6th, resulting in deaths and multiple injuries, including fallen heroes from the United States Capitol Police. I hope each and every perpetrator is brought to justice, and our country can heal from this tragic chapter. Law enforcement is not a partisan calling, and to be clear, I stand at the ready to be helpful to my successor in any way,” Coleman wrote in his resignation letter.

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