Are U.S. attorney decisions near? | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 2, 2017

Are U.S. attorney decisions near?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 9:22 AM

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In late April, Politico reported that Donald Trump was expected to begin moving within three weeks on U.S. attorney appointments. All were fired in March and career prosecutors have been serving in the interim.

Five weeks later, little has been heard, but I'm thinking the logjam may be about to break. Yesterday, two highly disparate sources said a choice had been made for the Eastern District of Arkansas and they believed the two U.S. senators in Arkansas were united on that pick. It's a name I've mentioned before for the job, Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland of Conway. I jocularly asked him in an e-mail yesterday if he'd had a chance to talk lately with Jeff Sessions about Russia, but he didn't respond.

Hiland would drop into the office at a time when, as far as we know, a federal public corruption probe continues that has a nexus in his hometown. That's the bribery case against former Circuit Judge MIke Maggio in which nursing home owner Michael Morton and a former state senator from Conway, Gilbert Baker, have roles, though they face no criminal charges. Additionally, the= campaign contributions Morton made to Maggio through Baker were not his only campaign spending. He spent a bunch on a number of other judicial candidates in Faulkner County favored by Baker., particularly now-Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood Note, however, that Baker supported a candidate Hiland defeated in his race for prosecutor.

Outside prosecutors from the Justice Department have been handling the corruption probe because the former U.S. attorney, Chris Thyer, stepped aside as a former state legislator.

PS: It occurs to me leakage is occurring because FBI background checks are underway. The checks do not mean an appointment is guaranteed, of course.

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