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SACRAMENTO — President George W. Bush intends to nominate a former Contra Costa deputy district attorney to be the new U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California. McGregor Scott, 40, is currently Shasta County district attorney. Late last week, the White House announced its intention to nominate him for the new post, which has been held by interim U.S. Attorney John Vincent for about two years. Scott could take over the job, which is headquartered in Sacramento and has a large office in Fresno, within a few weeks. That would happen if he decides to take an acting appointment “pending confirmation.” Otherwise, he will have to wait for the Senate’s OK. “I’m very honored and very grateful,” Scott said. Charles Bell Jr., a member of the committee that evaluates federal judicial appointments in California for Bush, said he didn’t expect any opposition to the confirmation. Bell is a partner with the Sacramento political firm Bell, McAndrews, Hiltachk & Davidian and vets U.S. attorney and marshal candidates in the Eastern District with former Third District Court of Appeal Justice Robert Puglia and Fresno attorney Lowell Carruth. Bell said the Eastern District position was open for so long because the White House kept rejecting candidates suggested by the committee. Scott graduated from Santa Clara University and then attended Hastings College of the Law. He worked in Contra Costa from 1989 until 1997, when he was appointed to the DA’s post by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors. He said he moved up to Shasta, which is known for its beautiful natural scenery, because he wanted to be in a good place to raise his family. He ran for DA unopposed in 1998 and 2002. The Shasta DA’s office has 24 lawyers versus the Eastern District’s 70. Scott admitted that running the federal operation will be different from the Shasta gig, partly because U.S. attorneys handle more civil litigation than county prosecutors. “My experience is principally as a criminal prosecutor. However, I know there are some extremely capable [civil] litigators at the office,” Scott said. ” My job is to manage and lead the organization, rather than litigate an individual case.” He said he already knows people at the Eastern District office because Shasta prosecutors occasionally work with the feds on drug and child sex crimes and other cases. Scott also worked with federal prosecutors on alleged hate-crimes cases involving Matthew and Tyler Williams, who are accused of killing a gay couple in Shasta County. Bell said the Williams case helped raise Scott’s profile among California prosecutors. Scott is also a reserve with the California Army National Guard, but he said it’s unlikely he would get called into action to deal with the current crisis over Iraq.

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