Sally Quillian Yates, the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, is expected to be nominated by President Obama as deputy attorney general, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Yates, 54, would replace Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who is stepping down next month. If Loretta Lynch is confirmed as Attorney General, it would mark the first time the top two jobs at the Justice Department have been occupied by people directly promoted from U.S. Attorney. It will also mark the first time two women have led Department since the mid-1990s, when Janet Reno was Attorney General and Jamie Gorelick her deputy.
Yates has 22 years of prosecutorial experience in the U. S. Attorney's office and focused much of her career on public corruption cases. She was the lead prosecutor in the Atlanta prosecution of Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph. Don Samuel, a prominent Atlanta defense attorney who has frequently gone up against Yates in federal court, had nothing but praise for the prosecutor. “We are delighted,” Samuel said. “She's a fabulous lawyer. We'll miss her down here. She runs a very competent office, and I'm sure she'll continue that on a nationwide basis.”