Hugh McQuaid photo
Attorney General-elect George Jepsen named the former U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy to serve as his Deputy Attorney General when he’s sworn in a few weeks from now.

Jepsen said that, while he had a dozen qualified applicants for the post, he was looking for someone whose past experience instantly commanded the respect of the office. He said he believed Dannehy to be that person.

“I can tell you that I made a series of phone calls this morning to different people, just to give them a courtesy call about my choice and one word that everyone said when I finished telling them who it was, every one of them, person to person, said ‘wow,’” he said at a press conference Friday.

In 2008, the New York Times reported that Dannehy was chosen to lead a special investigation into the dismissals of seven U.S. Attorneys in 2006, which some claimed were politically motivated. That controversy ultimately led to the resignation of then- U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. She was also involved as senior litigation counsel in the prosecution of former Gov. John G. Rowland on corruption charges.

“Someone said that 2010 has been a very lucky year for George Jepsen. I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Jepsen remarked. “But if that’s the case I’ve had no better luck than to have been fortunate that Nora Dannehy has accepted my offer to be my Deputy Attorney General.”

Dannehy described her appointment as a new professional challenge and said that in her 20-plus years in prosecuting sometimes complex and sensitive cases, she has learned that teamwork can bring a lot to an investigation. She also said that she’s already had the opportunity to work with many of the assistant attorneys in the office.

Jepsen said that he expects Dannehy to have a more prominent role than past Deputy Attorney Generals.

“I expect my Deputy Attorney General to have a profile of her own,” he said. “She will, in addition to being the chief administrator and managing and directing the lawyers in the office, be making sure that cases are being handled efficiently, with appropriate review. I also expect her to on occasion be the public face of the office and I also expect that she will represent me on the most serious issues affecting the state.”

Jepsen said he expects to name his remaining appointments in the next few weeks.