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Thursday, May 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Attorney General Sessions asks Ormsby and 45 other U.S. attorneys to resign

UPDATED: Fri., March 10, 2017, 10:43 p.m.

Mike Ormsby, seen in this 2012 file photo, earned confirmation on a 4-3 vote to become the city attorney for Spokane. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Mike Ormsby, seen in this 2012 file photo, earned confirmation on a 4-3 vote to become the city attorney for Spokane. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

New U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked 46 U.S. attorneys throughout the country to tender their resignations, including U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby of the Eastern District of Washington.

The move affects all remaining 46 federal prosecutors appointed by President Barack Obama who have not already resigned. Wendy Olson, Idaho’s top federal prosecutor since 2010, resigned last month.

Ormsby finally received the call from a deputy acting attorney general asking him to resign at 4 p.m. Friday, about three hours after he was first contacted by a reporter.

“It’s been one of the biggest honors of my life to serve in this position,” he said. “This has been a great, great experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

While many Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys had already stepped down, the Justice Department, in a news release, asked for the remaining 46 to step down. The nation has a total of 94 U.S. attorney offices.

“As was the case in prior transitions, many of the United States attorneys nominated by the previous administration already have left the Department of Justice,” department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement. “The Attorney General has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed U.S. Attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition.”

Ormsby, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in September 2010, previously said he would serve in the role as long as he was welcome.

While the indictment came under James McDevitt, Ormsby led the federal prosecutors who convicted former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr., in connection with the 2006 beating and death of Otto Zehm.

Ormsby replaced McDevitt, who was appointed to the post by former President George W. Bush.

Ormsby, who knew he wanted to become an attorney at age 11, previously worked at K & L Gates, which is the same law firm that had employed McDevitt.

Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell, who publicly acknowledged he applied for the job and has been a vocal supporter of President Trump, said he had not been contacted as of earlier Friday.

The New York Times reported Friday that a person familiar with the calls said there was no advance warning of the move. It came less than 24 hours after Sean Hannity, the Fox News commentator who often speaks with Trump, called for a “purge” of Obama appointees at the Justice Department on his show.

Asked what he plans following his resignation, Ormsby, 60, said he didn’t know.

“I wasn’t even thinking about that until my time here was over,” he said. “If it is over, I’ll take the weekend to catch my breath and think of the next chapters in my life next week.”

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