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Press Spokesman Channing Phillips Named Interim D.C. U.S. Attorney

justicelogo [1]By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — Channing Phillips, a press spokesman and steady hand in the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office over the years, who worked for Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., will become the interim U.S. Attorney, ticklethewire.com has learned.

The news comes just one day after U.S. Atty. Jeff Taylor announced that he was stepping down to take a job with the auditing firm of Ernst & Young. Taylor was a well-liked in the office, but it became clear that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton wanted to recommend someone for the post and it wasn’t going to be Taylor.

Over the years, Phillips, 51, has worked for a number of U.S. Attorneys including Holder, Taylor and Roscoe Howard, and was well respected by staff and the members of the media.

He is one of five candidates vying for the permanent spot.  This appointment could give him an edge in the contest for the coveted position.

Other candidates vying for the job include: Ron Machen, Roy Austin Jr. , Anjali Chaturvedi and Shanlon Wu.

Phillips worked at the Justice Department from 1990 to 1994 and then came to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1994. He worked for Eric Holder, who was U.S. Attorney under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

He is best known publicly as the office press spokesman. He also served as chief of staff under U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard, who stepped down in 2005.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment and referred calls to the Justice Department, which said an announcement would come later today.

Update 11:50 a.m. : The Justice Department has just issued a press release announcing the appointment. Read Press Release [2]