GOP congressmen back Cassilly for U.S. attorney

Harford prosecutor has expressed interest

December 10, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

Maryland's Republican congressmen are backing Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly in his bid to become Maryland's next U.S. attorney, according to a number of people familiar with the offices.

Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest's chief of staff, Tony Caligiuri, said his boss and Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett sent a letter this week to the White House and the Department of Justice outlining their support.

"Joe has got a tremendous amount of experience as state's attorney and as a prosecutor," Caligiuri said.

"He has built a reputation as a very honest, straightforward, hardworking public servant. We believe he will bring a tremendous amount of respect to the office."

Cassilly has confirmed his interest in the job.

"I am pursuing it and am hoping to convince other people that they want to support me," he said.

It is unclear how much sway the congressmen's endorsements will carry.

President Bush appoints the local U.S. attorneys, who then are subject to the approval of the Senate.

The U.S. Department of Justice also plays a major role in choosing the nominee.

Other lawyers are thought to be vying for the position.

Geoffrey R. Garinther, an alumnus of the Maryland U.S. attorney's office and a partner at Venable LLP who co-chairs the firm's corporate investigations group, is interested, a number of lawyers say.

Also interested is Rod J. Rosenstein, another former assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland who is principal deputy assistant attorney general for criminal tax matters at the Justice Department.

Frederick County State's Attorney Scott L. Rolle, who challenged Bartlett in the GOP congressional primary this year, has also been mentioned as a possible replacement.

Cassilly said he did not know when the White House would make its decision.

Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio announced Friday that he would resign early next year.

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