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Paul McNulty, a federal prosecutor in Virginia, was chosen Friday by President Bush to serve as the No. 2 Justice Department official, following the withdrawal of a nominee who faced questions about his business ties. As the U.S. Attorney in Alexandria, Va., since 2001, McNulty has prosecuted several high-profile terrorism cases. Earlier this year, McNulty’s office obtained a guilty plea from Zacarias Moussaoui, who admitted to conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers and now could face the death penalty. McNulty’s nomination as deputy attorney general must be confirmed by the Senate, but the White House announcement said he would serve in an acting capacity until then. The post has been vacant since James Comey resigned in August. Bush’s previous nominee for deputy attorney general, Timothy E. Flanigan, withdrew his nomination in early October, citing uncertainty over when he would be confirmed. Senators complained that Flanigan lacked prosecutorial experience and also questioned his dealings with indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. McNulty, 47, is well-known on Capitol Hill. He served as spokesman for House Judiciary Committee Republicans during the impeachment of President Clinton. He later directed the Bush transition team for the Justice Department and worked in the deputy’s office until Bush appointed him to the prosecutor’s job in Virginia. In the administration of President George H.W. Bush, McNulty served as the department’s director of policy and communication. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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