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The U.S. attorney who was hard on white-collar and environmental crimes will now defend those accused of such crimes.

U.S. Attorney David Jordan will do white-collar defense work in his new post as lead litigator for the Salt Lake office of a Portland-based law firm.He will also focus on environmental law, defending businesses against action by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"I don't see an irony in that," Jordan said. "Just because one does criminal defense work doesn't mean one is in favor of environmental crimes or opposed to the enforcement of environmental laws. My position hasn't changed on that."

The hard-line position Jordan took toward environmental crimes while U.S. attorney might make his job as defense attorney a little tougher.

Jordan tried to pave the way for tougher treatment of environmental criminals during his 20 months as U.S. attorney.

Jordan's team prosecuted the first two environmental crime cases in Utah. A federal judge declined to impose prison terms on those convicted in both cases. But Jordan is confident harsher sentences are coming.

Maybe just in time for him to represent the defendant.

Jordan made white-collar fraud cases a top priority during his tenure. He is disappointed that he couldn't finish several of those cases, including several tele-mar-keting fraud cases.

"Utah still has a reputation for white-collar fraud that is far too high for a community this size. This past year, we've taken a serious black eye in the national press over Bonneville Pacific. We still need to turn that reputation around."

However, Jordan will likely represent those accused of white-collar fraud.

Jordan relishes his chance to work the other side of the courtroom. When he became U.S. attorney, he had considerable trial experience but no criminal experience, he said.

Now that he has acquired criminal experience as a prosecutor, he looks forward to defense work.

"Defense lawyers are as critical to the justice system as prosecutors are."

Jordan is pleased with changes in his office during his tenure. Federal prosecutors have become more sophisticated in their prosecution of drug crimes, he said.

"We have tried several organized drug cases and gotten convictions during the past year or so."

Prosecutors now take a case through federal court if the accused is part of an organized drug ring, no matter how few drugs were involved.

Before Jordan's tenure, federal prosecutors looked at the amount of drugs involved when deciding whether to seek the tougher sentences imposed in federal court.