Charlotte attorney recommended for federal attorney's post

Staff writerMarch 2, 2011 

President Barack Obama late Wednesday nominated Charlotte attorney Thomas Gray Walker – again – for the position of U.S. Attorney for North Carolina’s Eastern District.

If confirmed, Walker would replace George Holding, the Republican U.S. attorney who was put in place by former President George W. Bush. Obama’s nomination could reignite the debate that ensued in 2009 when he first put Walker’s name forward.

Because Walker wasn't confirmed in the 111th Congress, Obama had to re-nominate him in the 112th, which began in January.

Walker is supported by both U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican. But both senators have said Holding should be allowed to finish his corruption investigations into prominent Democrats before being replaced.

Holding dropped his investigation into former N.C. Gov. Mike Easley after Easley pled guilty in Superior Court in November to a felony campaign finance violation. But Holding is still investigating former presidential candidate John Edwards. Edwards’ former associates have been summoned before a grand jury, and observers widely expect something formal to come out of that work soon.

U.S. attorneys are political appointees, and presidents routinely choose to put in their own nominees after taking office. As U.S. attorney, Holding is the top law enforcement officer for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which covers a third of the state, from Raleigh to the coast. Holding finished his four-year term in September, but has stayed on.

Walker is a partner at the Charlotte office of Alston & Bird and a former special counsel to N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper. He served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District from 1994 to 2001, and was an assistant district attorney for Mecklenburg County from 1990 to 1994.

bbarrett@mcclatchydc.com or 202-383-0012

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