TAMPA — Lee Bentley became the region's chief federal prosecutor Tuesday, taking over for former U.S. Attorney Robert "Bobby" O'Neill, until recently his boss.
Bentley will serve as acting U.S. attorney while the Judicial Nominating Commission vets potential candidates, who have until July 31 to apply.
He was chief assistant to O'Neill, who worked his last day Monday and has joined a risk management company led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity," Bentley said, before a recent retirement party for O'Neill. "I believe the office has done very well over the last couple of years, and I hope to continue and build upon the success that we've had."
Bentley has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the Middle District of Florida since 2000. Previously, he was a partner at the law firm Hogan & Hartson (now called Hogan Lovells) in Washington, D.C. Among other public posts, he once clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell.
He is a 1980 graduate of the University of Georgia and a 1983 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.
Those interested in applying for the permanent U.S. attorney position will find forms and details at www.flmd.uscourts.gov or www.floridabar.org.
Patty Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3382.