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US attorney for Nevada calls new role ‘the honor’ of his life

Updated March 23, 2019 - 10:54 pm

Nicholas Trutanich, the newly appointed U.S. attorney for Nevada, wants to focus on preventing violent crimes and stopping illegal opioid-related activity, he told reporters Friday.

A little more than two months into his new role, Trutanich said he wanted to work with state and city law enforcement agencies and community leaders, pointing to a Department of Justice program known as “Project Safe Neighborhoods” that is aimed at reducing violent crime.

Trutanich said one of his first acts was to gather more than 100 top officials from around the state, including Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, for a summit in Las Vegas next week.

“My love for the rule of law has deepened,” Trutanich said in a 30-minute meeting at the U.S. attorney’s office downtown. “It’s the honor of my life to serve in this capacity.”

He said he would strive to stamp out gang crimes by “engaging at-risk youth.”

Trutanich also said 10 medical professionals had been charged with opioid-related crimes in Nevada in the past 18 months. He called them a “danger to the community.”

The Senate confirmed Trutanich as U.S. attorney in January. He replaced Dayle Elieson, who served on an interim basis in the position for about a year.

Trutanich, who has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, is the former chief of staff for Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. Trutanich also served as a Justice Department deputy in Iraq in 2010 and 2011, where he worked on terrorism prosecution and advising Iraqi authorities and judges.

Less than two weeks ago, Trutanich announced the guilty plea of former state Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who is set to be sentenced in July on a wire fraud charge.

Prosecutors have indicated that they would seek nearly three years behind bars for Atkinson, and Trutanich called Atkinson’s use of campaign contributions for personal use “particularly troubling.” On Friday, he added that “public corruption is always a priority.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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