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July 06, 2017

Reports: Jeff Sessions' Philly visit canceled after death of DOJ staffer

U.S. attorney general had been scheduled to meet with officials in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania office to talk sanctuary cities

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not be coming to Philadelphia as planned Thursday to talk sanctuary cities, according to multiple reports.

Sessions canceled the trip Wednesday in the wake of the death of a staffer in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, CBS3 reported.

Richard Rizzo, 47, of Lower Merion, was an administrative officer with the local federal prosecutor's office. He was reported missing June 30 when family members were unable to reach him. Lower Merion police later discovered his body in a heavily wooded area, Main Line Times reported Wednesday.

"While the investigation into Mr. Rizzo’s death is ongoing, there is no initial evidence of foul play,” police said in a press release obtained by the publication.

The U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed Rizzo's death to CBS3 with "great sadness."

Sessions was to meet with federal, state and local law enforcement agents at the U.S. Attorneys' Office at Sixth and Chestnut streets to talk about sanctuary cities, according to NBC10

President Donald Trump's administration has implemented policies that would withhold federal funding for sanctuary cities like Philadelphia. Sanctuary cities have their own policies limiting cooperation between local law enforcement and federal officials when enforcing immigration laws in some circumstances.

Under Trump, sanctuary cities have become ineligible to get grants from the Department of Justice or Homeland Security, Sessions had announced in a memo in May, though Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has vowed that the city will remain a sanctuary city despite the federal government's new policies.

It's unclear if Sessions will reschedule his visit to Philadelphia.

Neither the Department of Justice nor the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania returned a request for comment Thursday.