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Friday, May 04, 2007
Gonzales names new director for executive office of U.S. attorneys

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will appoint Kenneth Melson as director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will appoint Kenneth Melson as director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, the Department of Justice said in a statement released Friday.

Melson, currently first assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia -- a position he's held since 1986 -- will take over for Michael Battle on May 14, the statement said.

"For almost a quarter of a century, Ken Melson has distinguished himself as a respected leader in the U.S. attorney community," said Gonzales. "Ken has enormous talent, drive, judgment, and initiative, and I am pleased that he will lead the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys with the same passion and commitment he has demonstrated throughout his remarkable career in public service."

The Justice Department reported in March that the resignation of Battle -- the official who had to deliver the bad news to the eight prosecutors fired last year -- was not related to the controversy over the firings. In a written statement, Battle said he notified Justice officials last June that he planned to return to private practice.

Battle had served as liaison between top Justice Department officials and the corps of 93 U.S. attorneys since June 2005. Some Democrats, notably Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, questioned the reason for Battle's departure despite the explanation offered.
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