Boroughs sworn in as South Carolina's top federal prosecutor

FILE - Then-Democratic U.S. House candidate Adair Ford Boroughs speaks at an outdoor town hall event at Perry Memorial Park in Aiken, S.C., on Oct. 22, 2020. Boroughs was sworn in as South Carolina's U.S. attorney, Tuesday, July 26, 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. (Colin Demarest/The Aiken Standard via AP, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Adair Ford Boroughs, a Columbia attorney and former Democratic congressional candidate, took over as South Carolina’s top federal prosecutor on Tuesday.

Boroughs was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, for whom she previously served as a clerk. As U.S. attorney, she will supervise dozens of assistant prosecutors and more than 80 support staffers.

The U.S. Senate approved Boroughs’ nomination on Thursday by voice vote. Proposed by President Joe Biden in June, Boroughs’ nomination was quickly advanced by a Senate panel on July 14, with just two members — Missouri Republican Josh Hawley and Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn — opposed.

The Barnwell County native is the second woman to serve as South Carolina’s U.S. attorney, following Sherri Lydon’s service in 2018 and 2019. The office has been under interim leadership since February 2021, when former state Rep. Peter McCoy, a Trump appointee, resigned following Biden’s inauguration.

From 2007 to 2013, Boroughs handled civil cases as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program in federal courts across the country. Later, clerking for Gergel, she worked on high-profile cases including the trial of Dylann Roof, now on federal death row following his conviction in the racist 2015 slayings of nine Black parishioners at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church.

In 2020, Boroughs mounted a challenge to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson as the Republican sought his 10th term. South Carolina Democrats hoped to repeat their 2018 successes, when 1st District candidate Joe Cunningham became the first Democrat in more than 30 years to flip a South Carolina House seat from red to blue.

Boroughs bested Wilson in quarterly fundraising several times but lost by 13 percentage points.

Boroughs also worked in private practice and served as executive director of Charleston Legal Access, a nonprofit she helped found. She earned her law degree from Stanford Law School and a bachelor’s of science from Furman University.