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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Commerce Secretary resigns citing recent seizure

John Bryson has resigned as commerce secretary, telling President Obama in a letter that the seizure he suffered recently “could be a distraction” to the president’s focus on rebuilding the U.S. economy.

In a letter sent late Wednesday to Obama, Bryson said “This is a critical period for our country’s economy. We must each day continue to support the growth of Americ’as businesses, exports and manufacturing and the vitally important jobs they create. I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on June 9th could be a distraction from my performance as Secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the Department.”

Bryson’s departure comes less than two weeks after he hit two vehicles near his California home, an episode that initially raised concerns that he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but was later determined to be tied to a seizure. The incident caught the Commerce Department and White House off-guard and Bryson announced he would take a medical leave two days after the accidents.

The legal case against Bryson is still unresolved. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, which will decide whether to file charges, said Thursday that police had not yet turned over the results of their investigation into the crashes.

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