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Wrigley to announce plans to step down

BISMARCK -- Drew Wrigley, North Dakota's U.S. attorney for nearly eight years and the man responsible for bringing to justice the state's most notorious killer, will announce today his plans for stepping down later this year.

The announcement is at 9 a.m. in Wrigley's office.

Wrigley has not resigned, according to a person in the U.S. Attorney's Office familiar with the announcement. Wrigley apparently plans to set forth a timeline this morning in which he will leave the office late this summer and enter law practice in the private sector, probably staying in Fargo, according to the source.

The timeline for departure seems to be based on a presumption that the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision will probably have been issued by then in the Alfonso Rodriguez death penalty case. Wrigley argued the appeal at the 8th Circuit in February.

Rodriguez is the convicted murderer of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin, who disappeared from a mall parking lot in Grand Forks in November 2003. Her body was found the following April near Crookston, Minn. A jury convicted Rodriguez in federal court in Fargo in 2006.

Wrigley 43, became the U.S. attorney for North Dakota on Nov. 15, 2001, after having been nominated by President George Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

As a Bush appointee, he is not entitled to remain in office indefinitely during the Barack Obama presidency, but he and other U.S. attorneys appointed by Bush were not required to resign on Jan. 20 as other Bush appointees were, and may serve until a successor is named.

Before becoming U.S. attorney, Wrigley served a year as deputy chief of staff and policy adviser for Gov. John Hoeven and before that was executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party for nearly two years.

He came to the chief federal prosecutor's post in 2001 with an extensive criminal trial background, having served as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia for five years before returning to North Dakota.

Wrigley was born in Bismarck and raised in Fargo and has an undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota and a law degree from American University, Washington, D.C.