With a voice vote by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, former U.S. Attorney William “Bill” Hyslop has again been confirmed to become the top federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Washington, which includes all of the state east of the Cascades.
“It’s a great honor to serve in this position and I look forward to it,” Hyslop said Friday. “And I look forward to working with the fine people at the Department of Justice.”
Hyslop was nominated by President Donald Trump’s administration over other candidates that included Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell and now-retired Spokane County District Court Judge Vance Peterson.
Hyslop served as U.S. attorney from 1991 to 1993 after he was nominated by President George H. W. Bush.
Former U.S. Attorney Jim McDevitt praised the nomination and approval of Hyslop to serve again.
“He’s well liked on both sides of the aisle,” McDevitt said. “I think it’s a great pick.”
Hyslop, 68, has practiced law in the Spokane area for 39 years. He’s a longtime principal at the law firm Lukins & Annis and served as president of the Washington State Bar Association in from 2015 to 2016.
“I have some commitment to clients that I’m completing,” Hyslop said. “But I’m hoping to assume the position in the next three weeks or so.”
Hyslop, who earned his undergraduate degree from Washington State University, a graduate degree from the University of Washington and his law degree from Gonzaga University, will replace U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington.
Harrington assumed the top spot on March 10, 2017, after Trump fired Mike Ormsby along with 45 other Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys on the same day. It is not unusual for incoming presidents to dismiss U.S. attorneys appointed by their predecessors, but most administrations keep the current prosecutor in the post until they can be replaced.
As result of Ormsby’s ouster, Harrington became acting U.S. Attorney. Then in April 2018, Harrington was appointed to the post through the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which allowed him to be nominated by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and approved by a vote of federal judges.
Harrington, 62, has been a federal prosecutor for 29 years and worked four years prior for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Reached by phone on Friday, Harrington was boarding an airplane and said he couldn’t comment as a result.
Hyslop said he had learned from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s office that the voice vote on his nomination would be coming up Thursday.
“I’m living the dream,” Hyslop said.
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