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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), New York Gov. George Pataki (R), and the Bush administration cut a deal July 22 that clears the way for 10 nominees to the federal bench in New York, including the imminent nomination of a federal prosecutor working on the trial of alleged terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Kenneth Karas of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan would fill a vacancy in the Southern District of New York. Karas, 39, is the co-chief of the Manhattan office’s Organized Crime and Terrorism Division. He prosecuted the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, securing the convictions of four al Qaeda operatives. In exchange for Schumer’s support of Karas, the White House and Gov. Pataki agreed to back former New York City Corporation Counsel Paul Crotty for the next opening in the Southern District, which is expected to come this summer. They also agreed to back Schumer’s choice for an Eastern District of New York judgeship when a slot opens. The announcement came on a day of hearings for four nominees supported by Schumer, Pataki, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.): Southern District nominees Richard Holwell of White & Case; Kevin Castel of Cahill Gordon & Reindel; and Stephen Robinson, former U.S. attorney in Connecticut; and Eastern District nominee Sandra Feuerstein, a justice in the Appellate Division, Second Department. Schumer suggested that all four candidates could be confirmed by the Senate’s August recess. “I think that what’s happened in New York is we have shown that when the White House does come out and talk to us, we can get things done,” Schumer said in a telephone interview. “And I think it indicates that we won’t have long-standing vacancies [on the bench] when future retirements come up.” Schumer also said he would continue to support former Court of Claims Judge Dora Irizarry for an Eastern District judgeship, even though the American Bar Association found her unqualified. “I met with her, we spent quite a bit of time with her, and she was very impressive.” If confirmed, Irizarry would become the first Hispanic on the Eastern District bench. The remaining candidates are Northern District U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sharpe (Northern District) and Appellate Division, Second Department, Justice Sandra Townes (Eastern District).

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