Vegas lawyer to get state attorney general's job

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Las Vegas lawyer George Chanos has been picked by Gov. Kenny Guinn to fill Attorney General Brian Sandoval's job as soon as Sandoval is confirmed as a federal judge.

Guinn spokesman Steve George said Thursday that the GOP governor has known Chanos for many years and sees him as "a highly qualified individual with excellent experience to fill the position of attorney general - and an excellent candidate for attorney general in 2006."

Chanos, whose law clients have included the state Republican Party, may not have to wait long to move into Sandoval's office. Sandoval's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled for next Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Sandoval said Guinn called him Thursday to advise him of his decision on Chanos, who had been viewed as a front-runner for the appointment.

"I'm honored by the governor's trust and confidence," Chanos said, adding that he would definitely run as a Republican candidate for a full four-year term next year. He said he'd make a formal announcement of his candidacy in two or three weeks.

In the 2006 election, Chanos would face Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who has the support of many top Democrats including U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, former Sen. Richard Bryan, former Gov. Bob Miller and former Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa.

Chanos also said that his wife, state Consumer Advocate Adriana Escobar Chanos, would resign from her post, which is within the attorney general's office although it has a separate budget and is a four-year term appointment.

"There really isn't a legitimate conflict, but to avoid the appearance of one she would resign," Chanos said.

Chanos, 47, grew up in Las Vegas, graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and later worked for former U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt in Washington, D.C.

He graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1985 and practiced law in San Diego until opening a law office with his wife in Las Vegas in 1995.

In his law practice he has focused on business litigation and also has represented the Clark County Republican Party as well as the state GOP.

Sandoval was nominated in March by President Bush to be a U.S. District Court judge in Nevada. While there have been delays in the scheduling of his nomination hearing, Reid has said he's "doing his best" to join with Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., in efforts to move the nomination along.


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