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Candidates emerge for top attorney Schumer to make his recommendation

Sen. Charles E. Schumer is expected to recommend one of four top candidates to President Obama for appointment as the new U.S. attorney for Western New York, according to several sources close to the process.

The sources say Schumer's staff has interviewed at least some of those vying to succeed Terrance P. Flynn, the Bush administration appointee who resigned last month following Obama's election.

They include:

*William J. Hochul of Buffalo, who heads anti-terrorism prosecutions in the U.S. Attorney's Office and is the husband of Erie County Clerk Kathleen C. Hochul. County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan has spoken highly of him to the senator but says he has made no official endorsement.

Several law enforcement associations also have urged Hochul's appointment, as have State Sens. William T. Stachowski and Antoine M. Thompson, former Rep. John J. LaFalce and Niagara County Democratic Chairman Daniel Rivera, among others.

(Trini E. Ross of Buffalo, with the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility and the niece of former Common Council President George K. Arthur -- one of the first and most visible Obama supporters in Western New York.

*Richard A. Resnick of Rochester, who heads federal white-collar prosecutions. Buffalo Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano, who heads the Responsible New York political committee and has recently cemented close political ties with Schumer, is urging Resnick's appointment, according to a source close to the process.

*Peter Allen Weinmann, a Buffalo attorney in private practice who is a former federal and Erie County prosecutor. Another source close to the process said Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, has spoken highly of Weinmann and Hochul to Schumer.

Schumer's process calls for a panel of legal experts to screen all applicants. They will submit their choice to Schumer, who then will make a recommendation to the president, who makes the official appointment.

While the appointment has traditionally been awarded to Buffalo (and the U.S. marshal's post to Rochester), some Resnick advocates are suggesting that he receive the U.S. attorney nod while the appointment to a potential new federal judgeship would go to Buffalo's Patrick H. NeMoyer, a State Supreme Court justice and former U.S. attorney.

e-mail: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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