June 2, 2017 / 6:48 PM / a year ago

Lawyer withdraws from consideration for US Justice Dept post

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York lawyer George Conway, who had been expected to be nominated to head the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil division, has withdrawn from consideration.

Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, said in a statement received on Friday that he was “profoundly grateful to the President and to the Attorney General” for selecting him to serve in the Justice Department.

However, he said, he had concluded that it is “not the right time for me to leave the private sector.”

Conway had notified the White House of his decision on Wednesday in a letter, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A White House spokeswoman referred a request for comment to the Justice Department.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the withdrawal. “We don’t comment on personnel matters,” the spokesman, Ian Prior, said in a statement.

Conway joins a number of potential hires who have withdrawn from consideration for posts in the Trump administration in recent weeks, including candidates for director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation after President Donald Trump fired James Comey.

It has been increasingly difficult to attract people to work in the administration, Reuters reported last month, citing sources.

Conway, a Harvard University and Yale Law School graduate, is a partner at the prestigious New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

He has worked on major securities and takeover matters, including a 2010 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court said federal securities laws typically do not apply to conduct in foreign countries. That decision has likely saved companies billions of dollars in potential liability.

Conway also has been involved in politically charged cases, including a behind-the-scenes role in the sexual harassment lawsuit that former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones brought against then-President Bill Clinton.

That case led to the eventual impeachment of Clinton on charges stemming from his relationship with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Kellyanne Conway was Trump’s campaign manager before taking her White House post. The Republican pollster and political strategist has been one of the administration’s most visible faces.

The Conways, who have four children, just purchased a nearly $8 million mansion in Washington’s Massachusetts Avenue Heights.

Wachtell does not have an office in Washington.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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