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Trump nominates Wrigley to be top federal lawyer in North Dakota

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Drew Wrigley, seen here Sept. 24, 2014, at an event in West Fargo, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as U.S. attorney in North Dakota. Forum file photo2 / 2

FARGO — Drew Wrigley is on a path to reclaim a job he once held as the top federal prosecutor in North Dakota.

President Donald Trump has nominated Wrigley to serve as U.S. attorney for North Dakota, a position Wrigley held from 2001 to 2009 during the President George W. Bush administration. More recently, from 2010 to 2016, Wrigley served as North Dakota’s lieutenant governor under former Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

In announcing the nomination Thursday, Aug. 16, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Wrigley was well-qualified for the job, noting he’d held the position for the better part of a decade.

“He has a strong record of investigating and prosecuting federal crimes in North Dakota and has helped provide justice for victims and their families during his prior service as U.S. Attorney,” Hoeven said in a statement. “We look forward to moving his nomination through the Senate as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., was less effusive in her statement. She praised Chris Myers, a career prosecutor who has been U.S. attorney in North Dakota since 2015.

“Thank you to Chris Myers, North Dakota’s current Acting U.S. attorney, for his outstanding and continuing work to crack down on drug traffickers, violent crime, and those who abuse and exploit children in North Dakota,” Heitkamp said. “Now that Drew Wrigley has officially been nominated to the post, I look forward to his confirmation process moving forward in the U.S. Senate.”

Wrigley, 52, now a senior management adviser for Sanford Health in Bismarck, said he appreciates the nomination and the chance to serve again.

“I’m deeply grateful,” he said. “I look ahead and I welcome the process and I welcome the prospect of serving our state and nation again as the U.S. attorney in North Dakota.”

Although Wrigley might become the first to serve twice as U.S. attorney in North Dakota, lawyers in other states have done so, he said.

“I don’t see it as an encore,” Wrigley said of the prospect of a second term in the role. “I really don’t. You can’t step into the same river twice. It’s constantly changing. I look at it as a new set of challenges.”

Early in his career, Wrigley worked as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia for almost five years. He worked in law enforcement for 15 years.

If confirmed by the Senate, Wrigley said he plans to be based in Bismarck, but would divide his time between the Bismarck and Fargo offices.

“I’ll be in both places every week,” he said.

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum called Wrigley “abundantly qualified to return to this important role.” He added: “We look forward to working with Drew to further strengthen our collaboration with federal partners on key issues including addiction, tribal relations and prison reform, and we urge the Senate to move expeditiously to confirm his nomination.”

Patrick Springer

Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to letters@forumcomm.com

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