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The federal dogfighting case against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is loaded with legal hotshots. There’s William “Billy” Martin representing the star defendant, while former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is looking into the matter for the National Football League. And then there’s Michael Gill. Gill, the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of prosecuting the Vick case, is, to put it mildly, less than a known quantity. In fact, he’s hard to get a bead on at all. Last November, Gill moved to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia in its Richmond division after working as a federal prosecutor in Dallas for more than five years. During those seven-odd years, Gill handled a number of cases, ranging from violent crimes to drug trafficking to white-collar crime. Gill’s probably best-known for not prosecuting a case: Earlier this year he was the lead attorney when the government decided not to indict General Reinsurance, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, for accounting fraud. Before joining the government in 2000, the Texas native worked at Austin-based Strasburger & Price for a couple years after graduating from University of Virginia School of Law in 1997. But none of his work thus far has involved a star defendant. Lawyers acclimated to limelight say steering a prosecution through a media storm for the first time is hard. “People will tell you that trying a high-profile case is no different than trying a regular case,” says DeMaurice Smith, a Patton Boggs partner who worked with Holder in the Clinton Justice Department. “But that’s just not true. There are enormous additional pressures because every move you make in a courtroom is going to be scrutinized and second-guessed by former prosecutors.”

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