Politics & Government

With John Edwards indicted, U.S. Attorney Holding likely to step down

George E.B. Holding, the top federal prosecutor in Raleigh since 2006, is expected to resign today.

Holding would not confirm or deny that he is stepping down when reached late Thursday. But The News & Observer has learned that the decision is final and will be announced at midday today.

Holding's departure is not a surprise after the indictment last week of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards on campaign finance violations.

Holding, a Republican, was appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina under former President George W. Bush. U.S. attorneys are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Thomas Walker, a former federal prosecutor who is now with the Alston & Bird law firm in Charlotte, is in line for the post, which oversees all federal prosecutions in the eastern third of North Carolina from Raleigh to the coast.

Walker, who declined to comment Thursday, is also a former top aide to N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper.

President Barack Obama has nominated Walker on two occasions. The nomination is pending.

But North Carolina's two senators, Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Richard Burr, had taken steps over the past two years to keep Holding in place while the high-profile public corruption probes of Edwards and former Gov. Mike Easley were conducted by federal agents and prosecutors through secret grand juries.

Easley, a Democrat, pleaded guilty to a felony in state court late last year.

Edwards, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004, was indicted Friday by a grand jury on six felony counts tied to the cover-up of an affair and resulting pregnancy of his mistress while he was seeking the White House in 2007 and 2008.

To read the complete article, visit www.newsobserver.com.