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Carmen Ortiz names John McNeil as top assistant in US Attorney’s office

John T. McNeil, an assistant US attorney who prosecuted several politicians and police officers for corruption, has been named the top assistant to the US Attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz.

“I am confident that John’s breadth of legal and managerial experience will serve the office and the district well,” Ortiz said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him in this new capacity.”

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McNeil takes over as first assistant US attorney, succeeding Jack Pirozzolo, who served in that role for more than four years but who recently left for the private sector.

McNeil served as a lawyer in the public sector for more than 20 years and has served for Ortiz as deputy chief of the criminal division, acting chief of the major crimes unit, and counsel to the US attorney, according to Ortiz’s office.

He was the lead prosecutor in several high profile cases, including the convictions of former state senator Dianne Wilkerson, city councilor Chuck Turner, and former Massachusetts House speaker Thomas Finneran.

McNeil also prosecuted former Boston police officers Roberto Pulido and Jose Ortiz, as well as Malden police detective David Jordan.

McNeil also initiated the first federal investigation of clergy sex abuse, and reached the first criminal settlement in the country with a Catholic diocese, the Archdiocese of Boston.

He previously worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency, prosecuting environmental crimes, and also represented the United States in civil matters. He was previously a state prosecutor and also teaches at Boston University School of Law.

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.
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