Obama nominates Polite to be U.S. attorney

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated Kenneth Polite Jr. to serve as U.S. attorney for the New Orleans-based Eastern District of Louisiana.

“Kenneth Polite’s legal career has been distinguished and impressive,” Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. “I am confident that, as a U.S. Attorney, he will be relentless in his pursuit of justice and serve the people of Louisiana with distinction.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, had announced in February that she was recommending Polite for the position.

“During the interview process, Mr. Polite stood out from an impressive list of candidates, showing the determination and experience we need to protect the people of the Eastern District from crime and corruption,” Landrieu said in a statement. “This is the kind of leadership our region needs to continue to thrive, grow and lead the nation in entrepreneurship.”

If the Senate confirms him, Polite will replace Jim Letten, who was the nation’s longest-serving U.S. attorney. Letten resigned in December after two of his top deputies acknowledged posting anonymous comments on a newspaper’s website about cases involving their office.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, also in a statement, said he would sign Polite’s “blue slip” to move his nomination forward and wished him “all the best in this very challenging time for that office.”

“I remained concerned that that office really needs a more seasoned leader and supervisor to immediately stabilize it after its scandals, and that Ken’s focus on street crime will unintentionally take focus away from battling political corruption. I hope his service proves otherwise,” Vitter said.

Polite, a former federal prosecutor in New York, is an attorney at the Liskow & Lewis law firm and is head of its white-collar criminal defense group.

Polite, a New Orleans native and graduate of Harvard University, earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

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