US prosecutor in NC quitting after Edwards charges

By EMERY P. DALESIO | June 10, 2011 | 11:00 AM EDT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal prosecutor announced his resignation Friday after staying in his North Carolina post three years into President Barack Obama's administration to avoid disrupting investigations into former presidential candidate John Edwards and former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley.

George E.B. Holding will step down as U.S. attorney for eastern North Carolina on July 8 after five years in the office, according to a statement by his office. He had previously been the first assistant U.S. attorney in the office for four years.

U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., had agreed on Holding's replacement but wanted the appointee of former President George W. Bush to stay in office until the investigations into the two high-profile Democrats were complete.

Edwards was indicted last week on charges of receiving illegal campaign contributions. He has pleaded innocent. Easley pleaded guilty to a felony in state court.

Waiting to succeed Holding is Thomas Walker of Charlotte, who has the backing of both North Carolina senators.

Hagan said last week that with Edwards' indictment it was time for Walker to take over. Burr said last week it was too soon to replace Holding because Edwards' indictment did not mean the investigation was over.

Spokesmen for Hagan and Burr did not immediately return messages seeking comment Friday.