- Associated Press - Thursday, May 10, 2018

SEATTLE (AP) - President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Brian Moran, a former top official in the Washington state attorney general’s office, to be the next U.S. attorney in Seattle.

Moran, who now works with the law firm of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe in Seattle, supervised nearly 600 state lawyers as chief deputy attorney general from 2006 to 2013 under Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna. Before that he was the office’s chief criminal prosecutor beginning in 1998, under Democratic Attorney General Chris Gregoire.

If confirmed by the Senate, Moran would become the top federal prosecutor for the Western District of Washington. The current U.S. attorney is Annette Hayes, who took over in 2014 when Jenny Durkan - now Seattle’s mayor - left for private practice.

The 59-year-old Kitsap County resident said in an email he was honored and humbled by the nomination.

“I look forward to returning to public service and working alongside the men and women of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice who have dedicated their professional lives to serving the citizens of Washington,” Moran wrote.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat and Washington’s senior senator, said in a written statement that Moran has strong legal experience.

“I had a productive meeting with Mr. Moran, and I am looking forward to learning more about his philosophy and his record as he goes through the Senate Judiciary Committee’s rigorous and robust vetting process,” Murray said.

Moran had wide-ranging duties at the attorney general’s office. As the top legal adviser to McKenna, he helped develop the office’s legal strategy and policy, including matters related to consumer protection, public records, data breach and unfair competition, according to his biography on his law firm’s website.

He worked with lawmakers on topics related to consumer protection, public records, public safety and criminal law.

As the attorney general’s chief criminal prosecutor, Moran and his staff helped elected prosecutors in Washington’s 39 counties with the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes; cases in which local prosecutors could not be involved for conflict-of-interest reasons; and sexually violent predators. He’s been involved in cases in every county, and has participated in trials in more than two dozen of them.

“He’s not a partisan; he’s just a really good lawyer and committed public servant,” McKenna said. “When I was campaigning for attorney general, all the county prosecutors said, ‘Whatever else you do, keep Moran, because he’s fantastic.’”

When Democrat Bob Ferguson became attorney general in 2013, he agreed. He tried to keep Moran on before McKenna lured him to private practice.

Moran and McKenna raised eyebrows when a New York Times investigation into lobbying by former state attorneys general revealed that soon after leaving public office, they were pressing their former co-workers on behalf of major corporate clients, including Microsoft and T-Mobile.

Ferguson insisted that McKenna and Moran obtained no special treatment for their clients.

But he acknowledged the potential appearance of impropriety and proposed a new one-year “cooling-off” period on state-government lobbying by former top state officials. The measure has not been adopted by the Legislature.

Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Moran was a deputy prosecutor in Kitsap County, where he handled homicides and other violent crimes. He has prosecuted three death-penalty cases.

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