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President Joe Biden has nominated Natalie K. Wight, who is deputy chief of the organized and violent crime section of Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s office, to serve as the top federal prosecutor in the state.

Wight, a 1992 graduate of Portland’s Cleveland High School, has been working in the District of Oregon since 2012 and with the U.S. Department of Justice since 2003.

Wight, 47, was selected out of three finalists chosen from a pool of seven candidates who applied for the job.

“We strongly support President Biden’s nomination of Natalie Wight to be the next U.S. Attorney for Oregon,” said a joint statement from Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. “She brings an outstanding combination of leadership, integrity, independence and community connections to this crucial post. We look forward to advancing her through the Senate confirmation process.”

Wight is one of five U.S. Attorney nominations announced Monday by the Biden administration. The nominations now go to the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation.

“These individuals were chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice,” said a news release from The White House.

Biden said he expects the new chief federal law enforcement officers to play key roles in helping support his effort to prosecute gun traffickers, put more police on the street and bolster community violence prevention programs.

Wight has supervised and prosecuted Native American tribal cases with a specialized focus on child exploitation investigations.

She was one of the prosecutors who handled the trial of Jason P. Schaefer, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2019 for igniting a cigarette pack filled with explosive material as he was cornered in his car by members of the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force. The Oct. 11, 2017, blast blew off two fingers on Schaefer’s left hand and left Washington County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Chedester, a member of the task force, with vertigo, ringing in his ear and a concussion.

Before working as a federal prosecutor in Oregon, she was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of California from 2008 to 2012. Wight also was an attorney at the Federal Bureau of Prisons from 2003 to 2008. She received her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2003, masters in science from California State University in 2000, and bachelors of science degree from the College of Idaho in 1996.

She also was inducted into the Portland Interscholastic League Hall of Fame, after serving as captain of the woman’s soccer team and women’s basketball team and running track at Cleveland High School. In recent years, Wight has served as the high school’s mock trial coach.

— Maxine Bernstein

Email at; 503-221-8212

Follow on Twitter @maxoregonian 

Original Article: Source