Montana Attorney General's Office announces departures of two senior officials

Attorney General Austin Knudsen
Posted at 5:46 PM, Nov 02, 2022

HELENA — The Montana Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday the departure of two senior officials.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Derek Oestreicher and Solicitor General David Dewhirst both resigned their posts for new opportunities, said Kyler Nerison, spokesman for Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

“David and Derek have been trusted leaders on my team,” Knudsen said, in an emailed statement from Nerison.

Oestreicher will stay on until later this month and is leaving to join the Montana Family Foundation as director of government affairs and chief legal counsel, according to an email from Nerison providing more details about the departures. Oestreicher was appointed to his position after former Chief Deputy Attorney General Kris Hansen resigned from the position in May. Hansen passed away in July.

The office did not say who Knudsen planned to appoint to the number two position after Oestreicher's departure.

Dewhirst’s last day will be Friday and he and his employer will announce Dewhirst’s next role when they are ready, Nerison said in an interview with MTN News Wednesday. Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen appointed Dewhirst to the top civil litigation position when Knudsen took office in January 2021.

Dewhirst was the lead attorney for the AG’s office when it came to defending legislation passed by the 2021 State Legislature. About a dozen lawsuits came out of the session, leading the AG’s office to contract with private attorneys to help with the workload.

In his statement, Knudsen said the two men were "integral to our success in protecting our state's interests from the disastrous Biden agenda, fighting for Montanans' rights, and holding the state judiciary accountable."

"With their help and leadership," Knudsen said. "We've built a strong foundation from which we will continue this important work on behalf of Montanans."

Christian Corrigan will be the new solicitor general, Nerison said. Corrigan joined the office in February 2021 and previously was senior counsel for the U.S. Department of Education.