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US Senate OKs Yates for federal attorney
0312SallyYates
Sally Yates

Sally Quillian Yates was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, whose office handles federal criminal prosecutions in Gainesville.

Yates was named acting U.S. attorney when her predecessor, David Nahmias, was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court in August, and was nominated for the job full time by President Barack Obama in December.

She was approved by the Senate in a vote late Wednesday night, her office announced Thursday.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be appointed by President Obama to serve as United States attorney,” Yates said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with the dedicated professionals in the U.S. Attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners to serve the citizens of this district.”

Yates, perhaps best known for prosecuting former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell in a federal corruption trial, has worked in the office since 1989. She served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1989 to 1994, chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Unit from 1994 to 2002 and first assistant U.S. attorney from 2002 to 2009. She had a previous stint as acting U.S. attorney in 2004.

From 1986 to 1989, she was an associate at King & Spalding. Yates graduated from the University of Georgia in 1982 and the University of Georgia School of Law in 1986.

The U.S. District for the Northern District of Georgia encompasses divisions in Atlanta, Gainesville, Rome and Newnan. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia employs more than 80 attorneys who prosecute federal court cases that include drug trafficking, fraud, tax evasion, child pornography, arson and, in some instances, murder.

Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh said Yates was “obviously highly qualified for the job of United States attorney.”

“I look forward to any opportunity that I may have to meet her and to work together in the future, should cooperation between our offices on any matter be important,” Darragh said.

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