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The White House announced Tuesday that Denise E. O'Donnell of Buffalo has been nominated to become the first woman U.S. attorney in the history of the 17-county Western District of New York.

Mrs. O'Donnell was named interim U.S. attorney by Attorney General Janet Reno upon the departure a year ago of Patrick H. NeMoyer, now a State Supreme Court justice. The Senate is expected to confirm her appointment to a four-year term.

Mrs. O'Donnell, 51, a graduate of Canisius College and the University at Buffalo Law School, is the wife of State Supreme Court Justice John F. O'Donnell. As NeMoyer's chief assistant for four years, she prosecuted drug, corruption and fraud cases. She joined the U.S. attorney's office in 1985.

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