The White House has picked Thomas M. DiBiagio, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice in Washington, to be Maryland's next U.S. attorney.
DiBiagio, 40, of Parkton was told he would be President Bush's nominee in a phone call late Wednesday from the White House liaison to the Justice Department.
"I'm grateful to the president for his decision and for giving me this opportunity," DiBiagio said yesterday.
A formal announcement is not expected until the FBI completes a background check, a process that could take several weeks. The new administration has yet to announce nominations for any of the 94 U.S. attorney posts nationwide, all of which must be confirmed by the Senate.
DiBiagio is a partner in the white-collar crime division at Dyer, Ellis and Joseph, a Washington law firm. Before joining the firm in February 2000, he had worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore since 1991.
Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Baltimore County Republican who was heavily involved in the selection process, said DiBiagio would be sensitive to the enormous power of the office.
"I wanted someone who has good judgment, who is going to make the right call on the close calls," said Ehrlich, who has known DiBiagio for 20 years.
DiBiagio would succeed Lynne A. Battaglia, who served as Maryland's top federal prosecutor during President Bill Clinton's administration. Battaglia stepped down in January after she won confirmation to a seat on the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Battaglia's first assistant, Stephen M. Schenning, has served as acting U.S. attorney since January.
Ehrlich said the White House might seek to have the local federal bench appoint DiBiagio to replace Schenning in that interim role until his confirmation, which is not expected to be opposed.