U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has chosen Craig S. Morford, Middle Tennessee's U.S. Attorney, to serve as acting Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Morford is to take the place of Paul J. McNulty, who announced his resignation after coming under fire for his role in the ongoing controversy over allegedly politicized decision-making at DOJ.
Morford's departure has been expected since Nashville lawyer Ed Yarbrough was chosen last week to take over the local U.S. Attorney's office. Morford had been brought in last year on an interim basis to replaces the departing Jim Vines.
The new role places Morford at the epicenter of DOJ's embattled leadership. Gonzales may have chosen him in part because he has been an effective fireman in the past. In Nashville, Morford walked into an office that had seethed with discontent over the management style of Vines. Previously, in 2004, then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed Morford to lead an internal review of how prosecutors handled the case of three men accused of being part of a terrorist "sleeper cell" in the Detroit area. A judge eventually threw out the convictions of the men due to prosecutorial misconduct.
As First Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Ohio, Morford headed the prosecution team in the 2002 trial of U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) on federal corruption charges, gaining a conviction that sent the flamboyant politician to prison for an eight-year term.
He holds a law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law and a B.A. from Hope College.