W. Stephen Muldrow becomes acting U.S. Attorney for Middle District of Florida

The prosecutor was the first assistant to A. Lee Bentley III, who resigned Monday.
Published March 14 2017
Updated March 15 2017

TAMPA — W. Stephen Muldrow, a federal prosecutor best known for handling the case of a doctor's son who tricked a woman into taking an abortion pill, will serve as the acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida.

Muldrow, 52, previously served as the first assistant to U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III. Bentley resigned Monday at the request of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who asked for the resignations of 46 U.S. attorneys nationwide appointed under former President Barack Obama.

Muldrow will command the local U.S. Attorney's Office until the president chooses a nominee for a permanent replacement to be considered by the U.S. Senate, or until the attorney general makes an interim appointment.

Muldrow has been an assistant U.S. attorney since 2001 in the Middle District, which covers 35 Florida counties stretching from Naples to Jacksonville. In that capacity, he has served on an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, as a senior litigation counsel and as chief of the office's Major Crimes section.

In 2013, Muldrow became Bentley's first assistant. During that time, he was the lead prosecutor in the case of John Andrew Welden, who was convicted of tricking his pregnant ex-girlfriend into taking a pill designed to induce an abortion. Welden is serving a 13-year prison sentence.

Before Florida, Muldrow served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Puerto Rico. He joined the Justice Department in 1989. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University, a master's from American University and a law degree from the university's Washington College of Law.

President Donald Trump will ultimately make an appointment for a permanent U.S. attorney, which then must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In the past, vacancies for the post have been the business of a federal Judicial Nominating Commission. The commission has sought applications and conducted interviews before submitting names to U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.

The senators will likely weigh in before forwarding the candidate names to the White House.

Contact Dan Sullivan at dsullivan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.