This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Correction: A story Thursday about White House plans to nominate a new U.S. Attorney for Utah incorrectly identified the acting U.S. Attorney. It is Stephen J. Sorensen.
WASHINGTON - After a four-month standoff, President Bush will nominate Brett Tolman as the new U.S. attorney for Utah this week, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned.
Tolman prosecuted gun crime at the U.S. Attorney's office in Utah before going to work for the Senate Judiciary Committee, where as chief counsel for crime and terrorism he worked to renew the Patriot Act and pass bills to expand DNA testing and other crime-related legislation.
Tolman had the backing of key senators, including Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and other senators, as well as several Utah police chiefs.
Generally, the White House defers to the home-state senators, but this time it backed Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
As a former assistant White House counsel, Sampson also had the backing of White House Counsel Harriet Miers and the president.
For several months, neither side blinked.
But according to a key congressional source, the White House has agreed to nominate Tolman, with an announcement expected this week.
The choice was confirmed by a knowledgeable Utah official.
"He's likeable, gregarious and very energetic, and all of those are skills that he will bring to the office that will make him a very effective U.S. attorney," said the source in Utah.
The Senate Judiciary Committee would neither confirm nor deny the selection.
"Neither Mr. Tolman nor this office have any comment. Nominations are the purview of the White House," said William Reynolds, communications director for Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter. "Once a nomination is announced, we'll be happy to comment on it."
Tolman was born in Provo and graduated from Brigham Young University's law school.
Tolman joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2000 in the violent crimes division. In 2001, he became coordinator for Project Safe Neighborhoods, a major push to reduce gun violence that resulted in the prosecution of hundreds of weapons cases. It earned him the Attorney General's Award for Outstanding Contribution by a New Employee in 2001.
He was chief of the violent crime and firearms unit before joining the Judiciary Committee, basically on loan to the Senate. There he was counsel for crime and terrorism, first for Hatch and now for Specter.
In addition to The Patriot Act and DNA legislation, he worked on bills to crack down on gang crime, fight child pornography, and reauthorize programs at the Justice Department and Office of National Drug Control Policy.
He is married and has three children.
If confirmed by the Senate, Tolman will replace Paul Warner, who was nominated by President Clinton and served 7 1/2 years as U.S. attorney for Utah before leaving in February to become a U.S. magistrate. Since Warner left, Stephen J. Sorensen has served as acting Utah U.S. attorney.