Yates to become nation’s top prosecutor

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Yates to become nation’s top prosecutor

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Sally Yates, in a photo taken in 2014 when she was U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, is about to become the acting U.S. Attorney General. (KENT D. JOHNSON / KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM)

Atlanta’s former top prosecutor is about to become the nation’s top prosecutor.

Sally Yates, now the Deputy Attorney General, will become acting U.S. Attorney General on Friday, a Justice Department spokesman said, according to published reports. Yates will take over for U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who is resigning on Inauguration Day.

“Upon the request of the incoming administration, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates has agreed to serve as Acting Attorney General until a successor has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, effective at noon Friday, January 20, 2017,” Justice spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said, according to a report published by Politico.

Yates’ tenure as acting AG is not expected to last very long. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Republican senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, is soon expected to obtain Senate approval.

President Barack Obama nominated Yates to be deputy attorney general in January 2015, and the Senate confirmed her five months later. When nominated, Yates was serving as U.S. Attorney in Atlanta.

Serving for 25 years as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta, Yates tried public corruption cases against the likes of former Democratic Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and former Republican Georgia schools superintendent Linda Schrenko. She also prosecuted Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph.

An Atlanta native, she is the daughter of former Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Kelley Quillian and the wife of attorney Comer Yates, a veteran school administrator who ran for Congress in 1996 as a Democrat.

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