Robert Huie, a former assistant U.S. attorney who helped lead the early prosecution into the “Fat Leonard” Navy bribery scandal, has been nominated to serve on the San Diego federal bench.
Huie is the fourth nominee to be named by President Joe Biden to the Southern District of California court, which serves San Diego and Imperial counties and until recently had been operating with a half-full bench.
Huie worked as a federal prosecutor in San Diego from 2008 to 2020, specializing in complex fraud and corruption cases. He has tried 20 criminal cases, including those involving bribery, money laundering, international trade, mortgage fraud and drug trafficking, according to his profile at Jones Day, the prestigious private law firm for which he has been working since leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
He was part of the team that led the prosecution against Leonard Glenn Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard” for his girth, who was arrested in San Diego in 2013 as part of a sprawling Navy bribery scheme. Francis pleaded guilty, and dozens of others, including high-ranking Navy officers, have been charged, as well.
Huie was also involved in the headline-grabbing prosecution of Mexican tycoon Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, who was charged with operating an illegal campaign contribution scheme.
Huie left San Diego from 2015 to 2018 for an assignment as legal advisor to the Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training. He worked at U.S. embassies in North Africa and Eastern Europe “where he focused on counterterrorism and anti-money laundering, working with foreign and U.S. officials on legislative and regulatory reforms, international agreements, and criminal cases,” according to Jones Day. “He also trained hundreds of foreign officials in the justice and financial sectors from over a dozen countries in Africa and Europe.”
At Jones Day, Huie served on firm’s Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement Committee.
Before becoming a prosecutor, Huie worked as a civil litigator at Latham & Watkins and as an attorney at Wiggin and Dana. Between stints at those firms, he clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes on the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals.
Huie received his bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and graduated from Yale Law School in 2002.
His lifetime nomination as a district judge must be approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and then by a full vote of the Senate. He would replace Judge Michael Anello, who took senior status — a semi-retired position — in 2018.
Biden’s first two picks — Judges Linda Lopez and Jinsook Ohta — were confirmed by the Senate just before the new year. A third, Ruth Montenegro, who currently serves as a federal magistrate judge in El Centro, is awaiting confirmation.
Biden must still name three additional nominees to constitute a full 13-judge bench.
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