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Top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts to step down next month

BOSTON (Reuters) - The top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, whose office has notched the high-profile convictions of the Boston Marathon bomber and mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, will step down next month, her office said in a statement on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz has held her position since November 2009, when the U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination by President Barack Obama. She will step down on Jan. 13, a week before Republican President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in to office.

The first woman and first Hispanic to hold the job, Ortiz's tenure had two of Boston's highest-profile trials in decades - Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving member of a pair of brothers who carried out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and Bulger, a long-time Boston mob boss who was captured by the FBI in 2011 after 16 years on the lam and convicted two years later of crimes including 11 murders.

"While I am excited about the future and look forward to embracing new challenges, I will miss participating in the important work this office is involved with," Ortiz said in a statement.

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The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston earlier this week overturned the 2014 conviction of three state Probation Department officials for favoring politically connected applicants when making hiring decisions. The appeals court found that Ortiz's office had overreached by using federal law to prosecute essentially political activity.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Bernard Orr)