Political News

US prosecutor quitting after Edwards indictment

Posted June 10, 2011

U.S. Attorney George Holding

— The federal prosecutor who oversaw investigations into former presidential candidate John Edwards and former Gov. Mike Easley is resigning.

U.S. Attorney George Holding on Friday announced that he would step down on July 8. He has headed criminal and civil cases in eastern North Carolina since 2006 and previously worked as an assistant federal prosecutor.

“I came to the United States Attorney’s Office in March of 2002 with the mission of making this office into one of the best law firms in North Carolina. We have succeeded," Holding said in a statement. "I am proud that, during the past nine-plus years, we have successfully addressed our national and district priorities, such as aggressive prosecution of violent criminals, child predators, drug traffickers, white collar criminals, would-be terrorists and corrupt public officials.”

Edwards was indicted a week ago and pleaded not guilty to charges of violating federal campaign finance laws, criminal conspiracy and making false statements. Easley pleaded guilty in November to a felony campaign finance violation in state court.

Holding is a Republican nominated by former President George W. Bush. He stayed in his post as chief federal prosecutor in eastern North Carolina after Democrats took the White House to prevent any disruption in the Edwards and Easley cases.

In addition to Edwards and Easley, Holding's office also prosecuted high-profile Democrats like former House Speaker Jim Black, former Congressman Frank Ballance and former Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps. Still, he said, politics never played a role in the cases.

"The priorities of the Department of Justice from the Bush administration to the Obama administration remained fairly consistent," he said. "The No. 1 priority of the department – the No. 1 priority of this office – is the prevention of terror."

Attorneys in the office already have secured guilty pleas from a Johnston County man who led a local terrorist cell and one of his sons. Five other men charged in the case are expected to go to trial on terrorism charges this fall.

US Attorney George Holding US prosecutor quitting after Edwards indictment

President Barack Obama has nominated Thomas Walker of Charlotte to succeed Holding. Walker, a federal prosecutor in western North Carolina and a former colleague of state Attorney General Roy Cooper, is backed by both of North Carolina's U.S. senators.

“Given the decision of the Department of Justice to have its Public Integrity Section prosecute the case against John Edwards and U.S. Attorney George Holding’s announcement that he is stepping down, I will return Thomas Walker’s blue slip when the Senate reconvenes next week,” Sen. Richard Burr said in a statement.

Holding said the best of his job is recruiting attorneys, not prosecuting defendants.

"When we have an attorney vacancy, we will get hundreds of resumes from all over the country from attorneys who want to come here, wear the white hat and stand up every day and say, 'I represent the United States of America,'" he said.

23 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • beccasdogs Jun 10, 2011

    When President Obama's appointee takes over the Democrats will be free to go back to all the illegal ways they have become so accustomed to for so many decades in North Carolina, as there will no one to watch over them. Everyone knows Roy Cooper could not find a crooked Democrat if they committed the crimes in his face.

  • djofraleigh Jun 10, 2011

    the title could imply the man quit due to charges about him by Edwards...

  • tv1919 Jun 10, 2011

    Democratic in NC is a bunch of crook, just like in Chicago, Illinois.

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Jun 10, 2011

    WRAL Poor choice of words in the headline. Quitting has implications. The guy is resigning/leaving. The headline really sounds like Edwards made charges against this guy and he is quitting (leaving under pressure) as a result. The whole headline is pretty much a mess, really.

  • sunshine1040 Jun 10, 2011

    Johnny was messin around before his wife said she had cancer but even if it was after my wedding vow said in sickness and in health and breast cancer treatments are not a walk in the park the first second or third time

  • bill0 Jun 10, 2011

    For those who haven't followed this prosecutor...

    He was a holdover from the Bush administration. The normal course of events is that the new president appoints new prosecutors. Obama asked him to stay on for the Edwards investigation to show that there was no "cover-up" or appearance of favoritism. Now that the investigation is done, the prosecutor has resigned.

  • North Carolina Home Jun 10, 2011

    There is no "sudden" development with Holding stepping down. This has been understood since 2008. The President gets to appoint, in each state, US Attorneys recommended by said state's US Senators. The investigations on Edwards and Easley were ongoing when Obama was elected. Both Senators Burr & Hagan held their blue slips until both investigations were completed. Obama appointed Walker ages ago and he will now be approved with the release of blue slips by Senator Burr and Hagan. No funny business here and this has been widely reported for a long time.

  • THE ETERNAL Jun 10, 2011

    We really cannot blame John for some of his actions. Since Elizabeth had cancer,spent time writing and promoting books, opened a store in Chapel Hill,etc, I am sure she had little time for John. Everyone needs some love once in a while.

  • cwood3 Jun 10, 2011

    Eternal-in your dreams-John Edwards is innocent. Fat-no-no chance. If he were totally innocent, why would he have been willing to take a plea deal which fell apart at the last minute??? Hummm!!! holding was playing hard ball with a real looser-to hard for old Johnny's liking.

    The new crowd from DOJ will figure out how to let Johnny off. After all, Democrats do nothing wrong!! Watch!!

  • THE ETERNAL Jun 10, 2011

    He probably relizes that Edwards is innocent.

More...