Troy Eid

Troy A. Eid is the 41st United States Attorney for the district of Colorado, and the first Arab-American ever appointed to serve as a U.S. Attorney.

Early career

Eid was born in Colorado to Edward Eid,Mook, Bob. "Eid welcomes new challenges; People to Watch '07." "Denver Business Journal", January 8, 2007.] an Egyptian who immigrated to the United States in 1957. [ "Troy A. Eid, United States Attorney, District of Colorado. (Official Biography)"] "United States Department of Justice". Retrieved on 2008-09-01.] He was raised in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and enrolled at Stanford Law School in the early 1980s, originally majoring in Russian. Eid, who also served as editor of the school newspaper was active and well-known at Stanford. He met his future wife, Allison Hartwell, while standing in line at a dorm cafeteria, where she was working as a food-service worker; she later said upon meeting Troy, "I said, 'Oh my gosh, you're Troy Eid!' It was love at first sight in the meal card line.'"Burnett, Sara. "U.S. attorney craves tasks." "Rocky Mountain News", September 28, 2006, News section, pg. 20A.] Eid graduated from Stanford in 1986 and, along with Hartwell, attended the University of Chicago Law School, where Eid earned his law degree in 1991. Eid is permitted to practice law in Colorado and the Navajo Nation, and his legal practice has focused on environmental, natural resources and federal Indian law. Eid is a member of the American Law Institute [ "Press Release: Troy A. Eid sworn in as United States Attorney."] The United States Attorney's Office District of Colorado, August 14, 2006. Retrieved on 2008-08-29.] , was rated as one of the nation's top environmental attorneys by "Chambers USA" and was named by "The Denver Post" as one of 2007's "People to Watch". He was also a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative organization seeking reform of the American legal system.Taylor, Marisa and Talev, Margaret. [ "2 additional prosecutors were considered for ouster."] "Knight Ridder Washington Bureau", May 16, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-08-30.]

Eid served as a law clerk to Edith Jones, chief judge of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before entering private law practice in 1992 at Holme Roberts & Owen in Denver. When Eid was sent to the Navajo Nation to do work there as a private attorney, he decided to take the nation's bar exam as the best way to gain credibility there; he passed the exam. Eid also served as a special assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under President Ronald Reagan and a congressional aide for law enforcement and the federal judiciary. From 1994 to 1999, Eid served as general counsel for chief operating officer of the National Information Infrastructure Testbed, an Internet technology research consortium formed to prototype advanced Internet applications in such areas manufacturing, health care and environmental protection. In his capacity with the consortium, Eid directed engineering teams in North America, Europe and Asia. Eid also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, where he continues teaches Advanced American Indian law as of the fall of 2008.

Cabinet of Gov. Bill Owens

From 1999 to 2003, Eid served on the cabinet of then-Colorado Governor Bill Owens. Owens first appointed him Chief Legal Counsel, where he oversaw the appointment of 34 state judges. Eid also served as Secretary for Personnel & Administration, where he was responsible for Colorado's largest workforce of 70,000 employees. Within days of the shootings in 1999 at the Columbine High School in Columbine, Jefferson County, Eid was chosen to spearhead an independent commission that reviewed the law enforcement response. He also chaired the Colorado States Board of Ethics served on more than a dozen state boards during his time on Owens' cabinet and eventually served as chief administrative officer for Colorado's $13 billion state government. Owens described Eid as a model of integrity and uprightness while serving on the cabinet, and said of his work during that time, ""It's a trial by fire, and when you survive it, typically it means you're going to be a very good lawyer." Eid was awarded "Outstanding Governmental Official of the Year" by the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Eid left Owens' cabinet in 2003 to became a partner and shareholder in the Denver branch of Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm which at one time employed Jack Abramoff, the political lobbyist convicted for defrauding clients of millions of dollars. Eid and Abramoff's tenure at Greenberg Traurig only overlapped for a few months and Eid claimed never to have worked with him, but both worked in federal Indian law, which others would later argue suggested a connection between them. After Abramoff was fired, a managing partner asked Eid to serve on a new internal ethics committee formed to avoid future wrongdoing.Boyle, Rebecca. [ "Greeley Tribune, Colo., Inside Politics column."] "Greeley Tribune", May 20, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-08-30.]

Appointment to U.S. Attorney

When Colorado U.S. Attorney John Suthers was appointed the state's attorney general in December 2004, Troy Eid was considered for his replacement along with Larimer County District Attorney Stu VanMeveren and Arapahoe County District Attorney Jim Peters.Burnett, Sara. [,1299,DRMN_15_5543263,00.html "Allard: Nominee's rejection 'strange.'"] "Rocky Mountain News", May 18, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-08-30.] Eid withdrew his name from consideration in January 2006, claiming the 13-month selection process was taking too long.Caldwell, Alicia. "U.S. attorney candidate bails, process took 'too long.'" "The Denver Post", January 27, 2006, Denver & The West section pg. B-01.] Eid also withdrew in part because his wife, Allison Eid, was under consideration for the Denver-based Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; the appointment would have created a conflict of interest since the U.S. Attorney oversees cases that often end up in the circuit court.Sprengelmeyer, M.E. "Eid again top U.S. attorney candidate." "Rocky Mountain News", March 30, 2006, News section, pg. 5A.] Eid denied that his withdrawal had anything to do with Jack Abramoff, who had recently been fired from Greenberg Traurig;. Eid insisted the fact that he had been selected for an internal ethics committee at the firm indicated he didn't "have an Abramoff problem."

After withdrawing, Eid announced he would run for an at-large seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. In March 2006, Allison Eid was appointed Associate Justice on the Colorado Supreme Court, which removed the potential conflict because the U.S. Attorney does not get involved in state court matters. By that time, VanMeveren and Peters had also been removed from consideration for U.S. Attorney. When the White House asked for three more names, Senator Wayne Allard recommended only William Leone, who had been serving as acting U.S. Attorney since January 1, 2005. Leone, however, had been placed on a list of U.S. Attorneys to be fired for political reasons by Kyle Sampson, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the White House instead asked Eid to reconsider. White House officials did not consider any other candidates besides Eid, who suspended his campaign for the University of Colorado Board of Regents in order to accept the U.S. Attorney position.Sprengelmeyer, M.E. "Bush picks attorney for Colo.; Salazar and Allard support Eid, whom Senate must OK." "Rocky Mountain News", June 10, 2006, News section, pg. 9A.]

Eid was appointed to the position by President George W. Bush on June 9, 2006, making him the 41st United States Attorney for the state of Colorado and the first Arab-American ever appointed to serve as a U.S. Attorney. Eid, who said he was "totally stunned," by the invitation, was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on August 4, 2006. He serves as Colorado's chief federal criminal prosecutor and represents the United States in civil cases where the government is party to a lawsuit. When Eid started the position with about 2,500 civil and criminal cases among 120 people, which he described as one of the heaviest caseloads outside of Washington, D.C.. In addition to the cases, Eid said his priorities upon assuming the office were enforcing immigration laws, cracking down on drug trafficking, and creating a cyber-crime unit to fight child solicitation and pornography. In his first few weeks on the job, Eid visited with local, state and federal law enforcement and met one-on-one with everybody on his approximately 140-person staff. The salary was about $142,000 a year.

Allegations and criticisms

Allard announced his support for Eid when he was renominated, but when questioned more than a year later about the U.S. attorneys dismissal scandal, Allard's staffers later said the Senator considered it "very strange" and "just kind of weird" that Leone was dismissed by White House officials for no specified reason. The fact that Eid was appointed despite a lack of courtroom experience led some to believe he was appointed mainly for political purposes. Leone, who considered himself independent-minded and politically neutral, said, "My assumption was all along I would be replaced by somebody who had more political stroke. I understand that's what happened," referring to Eid's conservative background.

When Leone's name began to surface in the U.S. attorneys dismissal scandal in May 2007, critics and media outlets began to speculate about Eid's possible connection to Abramoff during their time together at Greenberg Traurig. Eid denied any significant relation with Abramoff and pointed out his participation in an internal ethics commission after Abramoff's commission. In a statement, Eid said, "This attempt at guilty-by-assocation is like saying that anyone who has worked for the FBI is tainted because one renegade former agent, Robert Hansen ("sic"), was convicted of spying."

Joseph Nacchio trial

Among the cases Eid inherited from acting U.S. Attorney Leone was the ongoing prosecution of Joseph Nacchio, the former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Qwest Communications International indicted on 42 counts of insider trading. Nacchio was accused of selling $101 million of Qwest stock in the first five months of 2001 despite knowledge from company insider's that Qwest's financial condition was deteriorating. Leone had been lead prosecutor on the Nacchio case since 2002, but several members of the prosecution team had left throughout the yearsSmith, Jeff. "D.C. may take stronger role in Nacchio's case." "Rocky Mountain News", August 11, 2006, Business section, pg. 4B.] due to infighting that threatened to derail the case. Due to the problems with the Nacchio team and prior failures to achieve convictions against other Qwest employees, U.S. Department of Justice officials became concerned about the Denver office's ability to get a conviction and considered taking over the prosecution. Eid persuaded them otherwise in part by hiring Cliff Stricklin,Burnett, Sara. [ "Nacchio prosecutor leaving federal post."] "Rocky Mountain News", February 6, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-02.] who prosecuted the case against former Enron officials Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay in response to the Enron scandal. Although Stricklin was difficult to woo following his Enron success, Eid successfully hired Stricklin in August 2006 as First Assistant U.S. Attorney of Colorado and the head prosecutor for the Nacchio case

The prosecution team, which had about seven months to prepare for trial, also included Justice Department litigator Colleen Conry; Colorado Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Traskos; former tobacco litigation task force prosecutor Leo Wise; and Colorado Assistant U.S. Attorney James Hearty, the only prosecutor who served on Leone's original Qwest team. The prosecutors reportedly got along very well and heeded lessons from previous unsuccessful corporate fraud, which prompted Stricklin to describe them as "the very best team" he ever worked with.Smith, Jeff. "Prosecution lands the big one; A different team of lawyers prevails in 5-year-long case." "Rocky Mountain News", April 20, 2007, Business section, pg. 4.] The trial began in March 2007 and in April, Nacchio was convicted of 19 of the 42 counts of insider trading. On July 28, he was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a $19 million fine and forfeit the $52 million he grossed on the illegal sales. Eid described the Nacchio case as the largest insider trading case in United States history; regarding the verdict and sentencing, Eid said, "This is what the American criminal justice system is all about"Burnett, Sara. "Six years in prison. $19 million in fines, $52 million in stock forfeited." "Rocky Mountain News", July 27, 2007, Business section, pg. 1.] and said, "'Convicted felon Joe Nacchio' has a very nice ring to it."

Nacchio appealed the verdict, arguing that Judge Edward Nottingham defense witness was improperly excluded from offering expert evidence during the trial. In a two-to-one decision on March 17, 2008, the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned all 19 guilty counts and ordered a new trial before a different judge. [ "New trial ordered for ex-Qwest chief."] "Reuters", March 17, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-02.] Eid appealed the decision to the full appellate court, which is scheduled to consider whether to uphold the conviction on September 25. Eid recruited Edwin Kneedler, principal deputy solicitor general for the Department of Justice and a veteran Supreme Court attorney, to represent the government in the case; Eid said of Kneedler, "We wanted the best and we got him." [Smith, Jeff. [ "Heavy hitter landed for Nacchio case."] "Rocky Mountain News", August 13, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-02.]

Other U.S. Attorney service

In August 2008, Troy Eid charged Marc Garold Ramsey, 39, for sending a threatening letter with white powdery substance to 2008 Republican Party presidential nominee Senator John McCain. [ "The Trail: McCain Campaign: Colo. Inmate Charged with Powder Mailing."] "The Washington Post", August 23, 2008, pg. A06.] The letter read, "Senator McCain, If you are reading this then you are already DEAD! Unless of course you can't or don't breathe."Friedman, Brad. [ "Scant coverage of Obama assassination plot: irresponsible or cautious?"] " [ The Brad Blog] ", August 29, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-08-29.] Although the powder was not lethal, Ramsey could face at least five years on charges of knowingly mailing a threat. Later that month, Eid also assessed an alleged assassination plot against Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, after alleged plotters Shawn Robert Adolf, Tharin Robert Gartrell and Nathan Johnson were arrested just prior to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Although the trio were charged with drug and weapon charges, Eid determined the racist statements the suspects made following their arrests had not risen to the legal standard that would have allowed the filing of federal charges for threatening a presidential candidate. [Johnson, Kirk and Lichtblau, Eric. [ "Officials see no 'credible threat' to Obama in racist rants."] "The New York Times", August 26, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-08-29.] At an August 26 press conference, Eid dismissed the trio as drug addicts and said the "meth heads were not a true threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention or the people of Colorado." [Ensslin, John C.; Villa, Judi; and Washington, April M. [ "U.S. attorney 'confident' Obama not threatened."] "Rocky Mountain News", August 26, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-08-29.]

Eid was accused by some of showing a political bias by prosecuting Ramsey without charging Gartrell, Adolf and Johnson, but Eid defended the decision; in a letter responding to the criticism, he wrote, “It would have been disgraceful for me or any other prosecutor to charge someone for a crime he didn’t commit. ... There was no probable cause to support such a charge. To the extent you challenge my motives or those of the many investigating agents and career prosecutors who all reached this conclusion in this matter, you’re mistaken.”Stein, Jeff. [ "The Obama assassination attempt that wasn't."] "Congressional Quarterly", September 5, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-07.] Eid aides admitted, however, that the decision not to charge was at least in part because they did not believe a jury would convict them based on the reliability of Johnson's testimony; Jeffrey Dorschner, Eid's spokesman, said a defense attorney “would tear him apart.”


Eid is married to Allison Hartwell Eid, who was appointed an Associate Justice on the Colorado Supreme Court by then-Governor Bill Owens in February 2006. Troy and Allison have two children together named Alex and Emily. Allison has described her husband as one who enjoys and embraces challenges; citing his decision to take the Navajo Nation's bar exam during his time as a private attorney, she said, ""What 41-year-old man is going to willingly take the bar? He's just someone who jumps in and says, 'I'm going to meet this challenge.'"


Eid wrote the article "Strategic Democracy-Building: How U.S. States Can Help" for "The Washington Quarterly" magazine, which was published a chapter for the 2003 book, "Winning Hearts and Minds: Using Soft Power to Undermine Terrorist Networks." He also wrote a 2007 article for "The Federal Lawyer" entitled "Beyond Oliphant: Strengthening Criminal Justice in Indian Country."

Notes and references

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