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.
Oregon’s U.S. Attorney Scott E. Asphaug, who has served in the top federal prosecutor’s job for more than a year, is headed to Nairobi later this month to spend his last two years as a U.S. Justice Department legal adviser in Kenya before retiring.
His last day as head of Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office will be Sunday.
Natalie K. Wight will take over that day as interim U.S. attorney pending her confirmation to the job by the U.S. Senate, Oregon’s Chief U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez announced Wednesday. President Joe Biden nominated Wight last month to succeed Asphaug.
Wight most recently served as deputy chief of the organized and violent crime section of the office. She’s 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.
Asphaug, a 17-year member of the U.S. Department of Justice, will work with Kenyan counterparts on justice issues while assigned to the department’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training. Asphaug was named acting U.S. attorney in late February 2021, and on Christmas Day, was appointed interim by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
Asphaug previously served as the first assistant to former Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams, who was asked to step down when Biden took office. Williams was appointed by former President Donald Trump.
Wight, 47, was selected out of three finalists chosen from a pool of seven candidates who applied for the job.
She was the only woman of the three finalists and if confirmed, would become the first Black and second Asian-American to lead Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.
— Maxine Bernstein
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