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Friends and colleagues of Charles Rosenberg, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, portray him as a dogged, apolitical prosecutor who’ll follow the law wherever it leads. But that apparently doesn’t extend to heading up cases that could interfere with his prospects for Senate confirmation to be permanent U.S. attorney. Rosenberg has recused himself from part of the bribery investigation of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) because his nomination is pending before the Senate, according to a source close to Rosenberg. The FBI’s raid of Jefferson’s congressional office last month triggered outrage from a number of congressional Republicans and Democrats, who viewed it as a blatant violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers. Filling in for Rosenberg on the politically sensitive case is career prosecutor Kenneth Melson, the Eastern District’s top assistant U.S. attorney. But some former Justice officials say it’s possible Rosenberg could have stepped out of the Jefferson case for more noble reasons. “If the decision is based on a concern with public confidence in whatever the prosecutive decision is, it’s laudable,” says Ira Raphaelson, a former U.S. attorney who is now general counsel of Scientific Games Corp. Rosenberg, who declined comment, saw his nomination voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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