John S. Leonardo

Former Pima County Superior Court Judge John S. Leonardo was confirmed Friday by the U.S. Senate as the U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona.

U.S. Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain issued a joint statement announcing the confirmation, saying, "We are pleased that the Senate confirmed Judge John Leonardo to serve as U.S. Attorney.

"Judge Leonardo's decade of experience on the bench and previous work in the U.S. Attorney's Office will be strong assets as he continues his public service in this new, challenging role."

Leonardo said in an email that the president still needs to sign his commission before he can be sworn in, which should occur next week.

"I am very pleased and honored by the Senate confirmation ... and I am looking forward to serving the people of Arizona in this new capacity.

"I consider it a privilege to join the very dedicated and capable staff of the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office," he wrote, before expressing his appreciation to Kyl and McCain, as well as U.S. Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Ed Pastor for their support and assistance.

He will fill the federal prosecutor's job vacated by former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, who resigned in August during the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, the botched "gun-walking" operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Phoenix office.

Leonardo served on the Superior Court bench from 1993 until his retirement in February.

Before becoming a judge, Leonardo was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana from 1973 to 1982 and for the District of Arizona from 1982 to 1993. Leonardo was also an assistant state's attorney for Prince George's County, Md.

Leonardo graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1969 and from the George Washington University Law School in 1972.