President Bush has nominated Nashville defense attorney Ed Yarbrough to be U. S. Attorney for Middle Tennessee.
NashvillePost.com first reported last October that Yarbrough was a leading contender for the post. Craig S. Morford, a veteran prosecutor from the Northern District of Ohio, has filled the position on an interim basis since Jim Vines resigned at the end of September.
During the long interval between the first floating of Yarbrough's name and today, the Justice Department has been a little busy with other matters involving the replacement of U. S. Attorneys. The departure of Vines is not thought to have been politically motivated and has not been part of the ongoing controversy over the firings of U. S. Attorneys elsewhere around the country at the end of last year. But the distraction of that issue may have had something to do with the delay.
The U.S. Attorney's office, based in the Estes Kefauver Federal Building downtown with branches in Columbia and Cookeville, includes 31 assistant U.S. Attorneys and handles hundreds of federal prosecutions annually.
The job requires Senate confirmation. Yarbrough has not been particularly active in Nashville politics over the years, but he did contribute $250 to the Bush/Cheney presidential campaign in 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Yarbrough is a Vietnam veteran. He served as an assistant district attorney in Nashville for three years after he earned his law degree from Vanderbilt in 1973. Over the past three decades, he has handled numerous high-profile cases as a partner in the firm of Hollins, Wagster, Yarbrough, Weatherly & Raybin.
He gained national attention as counsel to three of Tammy Wynette’s daughters in a $50-million wrongful death lawsuit over the singer's medical treatment, though the case was eventually dismissed in 2002. Yarbrough has also represented State Sen. Doug Jackson (D-Dickson) on charges of abuse against his teenaged daughter, State Sen. John Ford (D-Memphis) before the Senate's Ethics Committee, and country star George Jones on reckless driving charges.
Reached this morning, Yarbrough said he cannot comment at this time on the nomination, which was announced on the White House website late yesterday.