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U.S. Attorney Ready For Federal Judgeship Challenges

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RALEIGH, N.C. — There will soon be a change in the U.S. Attorney's office in Raleigh. Frank Whitney's last day on the job is Friday; the same day he'll be sworn is a federal judge.

Whitney has served as U.S. Attorney since April 2002, and has prosecuted about 700 felony cases a year. Drugs, weapons, fraud, child pornography, and immigration crimes are all handled through his office, as well as high profile cases involving public officials.

Currently, Whitney is in charge of the ongoing investigation into House Speaker Jim Black. He has also dealt with the indictment and conviction of Meg Scott Phipps. Whitney also prosecuted Congressman Frank Balance, who is now in prison.

The 46-year-old, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said he took no joy in prosecuting Democrats.

"The other victims are the family members and friends who are deprived of that loved one, and that's very painful," said Whitney. "I struggle with these cases, but I know in the end justice is served when we correct the wrong."

Of the thousands of cases he's worked, one does stand above the rest. North Carolina's copy of the original Bill of Rights was stolen in 1865. After a joint investigation between the state Attorney General's office and federal authorities, its now back in the state archives. That's where Whitney says it belongs, and the courts agree.

"Just last week, the 4th Circuit (Court of Appeals) said we were right and that North Carolina's going to get to keep the Bill of Rights," said Whitney.

Whitney will be one of the youngest federal judges in the country. He'll serve the western district of North Carolina, based in his hometown of Charlotte.


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