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Senate panel OKs nomination of Gonzales

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WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales to become the state’s next federal district judge.

The committee had delayed its vote on Gonzales since February over concerns that Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the panel’s ranking Republican, had about the New Mexico U.S. attorney’s prosecution of a Deming-area gun case. A federal judge in February ruled that federal prosecutors from Gonzales’ office improperly withheld damaging information about a key prosecution witness in the federal gun case.

Grassley said Thursday that a committee inquiry into the matter allayed his concerns about Gonzales, and the committee voted unanimously to approve his nomination.

“It (the inquiry) was done in a timely manner for what we had to research,” Grassley said. “I can say for the record after I was satisfied and we thought we had everybody else satisfied, somebody else in the Senate raised the same issues … so it’s good when we can hold these (nominations) up until we get everybody satisfied.”

Both of New Mexico’s U.S. senators strongly support Gonzales’ nomination.

It’s unclear when the full Senate will take up a vote on the Gonzales nomination.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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