President Bush named Craig Morford, a longtime career prosecutor yesterday, as acting deputy attorney general, says the Washington Post. The selection fills a key Justice Department position at a time of widespread tumult over the U.S. attorney firings scandal. Morford, now interim U.S. Attorney in Nashville, replaces Paul McNulty, one of more than a half-dozen senior Justice officials who have announced their departures this year. The job requires Senate confirmation, but Bush administration officials did not indicate whether Morford would be officially nominated or would hold the job temporarily.
A 20-year Justice Department veteran, Morford has spent most of his career pursuing public-corruption and organized-crime cases in Cleveland. He was the lead prosecutor in the case of former congressman James A. Traficant Jr., an Ohio Democrat convicted of bribery and racketeering in 2002. Many potential candidates for McNulty’s job were not interested, in light of morale problems in the department, the Post said. As deputy attorney general, Morford will be responsible for many day-to-day operations.