By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr installed a new interim U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Alabama on Thursday, the latest appointee to come out of the Justice Department in Washington to serve in an acting capacity as a top federal prosecutor.
Prim Escalona, the department's principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legislative Affairs, will take over from Jay Towns, who resigned on Wednesday to take a job with a defense contractor.
A Justice Department spokesman did not have any immediate comment on why Barr tapped Escalona, who does not appear to have a background prosecuting criminal cases based on her LinkedIn profile.
Barr has reshuffled a number of U.S. attorneys in recent months, replacing them with people who worked in Washington.
In January, he installed his counsel Tim Shea as acting U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, the office that brought the criminal case against Trump's longtime friend Roger Stone.
Barr later ordered Shea to scale back the department's sentencing memorandum for Stone, prompting all four career prosecutors to resign from the case.
Earlier this month, Barr also appointed Seth Ducharme, the principal associate deputy attorney general in Washington, as acting U.S. attorney for the Brooklyn-based Eastern District of New York.
Richard Donoghue, the prior U.S. attorney in the Eastern District, took over Ducharme's role in Washington.
In June, Barr ousted Manhattan's top federal prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, so that Trump could appoint Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, who has no experience as a prosecutor.
Barr originally had planned to fill the job temporarily by appointing Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney in New Jersey.
But Berman foiled those plans by refusing to step aside until Barr agreed to let Berman's handpicked deputy serve as acting U.S. Attorney.
Separately, Barr also recently appointed Deputy Associate Attorney General Stephen Cox as the top prosecutor in the Eastern District of Texas.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Jonathan Oatis)