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Capitol Police hires prosecutor to tackle lawmaker threats

A lawyer who helped prosecute South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh will handle cases in California

The entrance to the Capitol Police headquarters in Washington.
The entrance to the Capitol Police headquarters in Washington. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A lawyer who worked on a high-profile murder case against former prominent South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh will soon work to prosecute people who threaten members of Congress.

Johnny James will start March 11 as a federal prosecutor based in San Jose, Calif., in connection with the Capitol Police and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, based in San Francisco.

James and a team of prosecutors secured a conviction and life prison sentence for Murdaugh in March 2023 for the killings of his wife, Maggie, and son Paul. The trial garnered national interest and has been the subject of documentaries.

He comes to the Capitol Police after a decade working for South Carolina’s Office of the Attorney General. His work included prosecution of public corruption in South Carolina schools and drug conspiracies carried out by public officials, as well as post-conviction relief cases.

Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in an emailed statement that the hiring of James will contribute to the department’s mission to protect lawmakers.

“We welcome Mr. James’ vast experience as a prosecutor, so that we can continue to expand our efforts to tackle the growing number of unique threat cases that we are facing,” Manger said. “His years of expertise will help strengthen our mission to protect all of the Members of Congress.”

The Capitol Police has field offices in San Francisco and Tampa, Fla., that each have two threat assessment special agents. There are three total special assistant U.S. attorneys: one in Tampa, one in Washington, D.C., and James in San Jose.

James will fill a prosecutor position that had been based in San Francisco and will work closely with that field office, and the agents in the area will likely be assigned to work most of his cases, according to a source familiar with the department’s operations.

In a post on LinkedIn announcing the new job with the Capitol Police, James said he has lived in the Columbia, S.C., area since he was 4 years old and left the possibility of him returning to South Carolina open.

“Perhaps I will love the west. Perhaps I will yearn for home. Either way I will always love South Carolina and the people here. God bless you all,” James wrote.

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