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Watkinsville native named acting U.S. attorney for Middle District of Georgia

Peter D. Leary

By Joe Johnson

Peter D. Leary has been named as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Acting U.S. Attorney Leary previously served as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney since 2018.

He succeeds Charlie Peeler, who last week annpunced he was resigning from the post to join a private-practice law firm in Atlanta.

Leary has served the citizens of the Middle District of Georgia as a prosecutor since 2012. Since then, he worked as the office’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council coordinator, its Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property prosecutor and as the first assistant U.S. attorney.

In 2019, Leary received the Anti-Defamation League’s SHIELD award with FBI and Department of Justice partners, and he shared the 2018 International Association of Chiefs of Police/Thomson Reuters Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigation with the FBI and GBI.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve the citizens of the Middle District of Georgia in this new role,” Leary said. “I pledge to continue the great legacy of this office by working closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure that justice is served with integrity and a steadfast dedication to upholding the rule of law.”

As Acting U.S. Attorney, Leary is the top-ranking federal law enforcement official in the Middle District of Georgia, which covers 70 of Georgia’s 159 counties, includes Albany, Athens, Columbus, Macon and Valdosta, and has a population of approximately 2,045,000 people. The office is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the district, including crimes related to terrorism, public corruption, child exploitation, fraud, firearms, illegal gangs and narcotics. The office also defends the United States in civil cases and collects debts owed to the United States.

Raised in Watkinsville, Georgia, Leary received his B.A. and J.D. from University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar. After law school, Mr. Leary clerked for U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Following his clerkship, Leary joined the Federal Programs Branch of the DOJ through its Honors Program, where he worked extensively with the Intelligence Community. In addition to his work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Leary served as adjunct faculty at Mercer University, teaching Criminal Justice.

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