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Top aide leaves Boston US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office

Jack W. Pirozzolo, the top aide to US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, has left his position for a post at Sidley Austin LLP’s Boston office, as a partner and member of the firm’s white-collar unit.

Pirozzolo has been replaced by John McNeil, an assistant US attorney and acting chief of the major crimes unit, who handled public corruption cases including the conviction in 2010 of former City Councilor Chuck Turner, and the prosecution of former state Senator Dianne Wilkerson in 2011. He also prosecuted former House Speaker Thomas Finneran in 2007.

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As the first assistant, McNeil will help coordinate the office’s legal strategy and work under Ortiz.

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with John over the last several years and have been impressed with his legal talents, work ethic, and genuine commitment to the mission of this office,” Ortiz said. “His management and trial experience will serve him well as First Assistant US Attorney.”

Pirozzolo served in the office for more than 10 years, and was named the first assistant in late 2009, when Ortiz took over the office. He had previously served in the economic crimes unit.

As the first assistant, Pirozzolo has overseen several high-profile cases, including the ongoing prosecution of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

He was also the lead prosecutor in the prosecution of Catherine Greig, the girlfriend of James “Whitey” Bulger, the South Boston gangster. Greig is serving an eight-year sentence for harboring Bulger during his 16 years on the lam.

Ortiz added in a statement, “Jack has contributed enormously to the overall mission of this office. The respect he has garnered from his colleagues both in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and in the legal community at large, is a testament to his skills as a prosecutor and his dedication to public service over the past decade.”

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at MValencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MiltonValencia.
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