updated 10/7/2005 3:16:08 PM ET 2005-10-07T19:16:08

Timothy E. Flanigan has withdrawn as a nominee to be deputy attorney general amid a delay in his confirmation because of his dealings with indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, The Associated Press has learned.

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Flanigan, a senior lawyer for Tyco International Ltd., wrote President Bush that he was withdrawing because of “uncertainty concerning the timing of my confirmation.” The AP obtained a copy of the letter Friday.

He was nominated in May to be the No. 2 official at the Justice Department — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ top deputy. It’s a role he also held when Gonzales was White House counsel in Bush’s first term. But Flanigan’s nomination has been held up over questions about his connection to Abramoff.

Flanigan joined Tyco in 2002, after leaving the White House. He has told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Abramoff, subject of a federal investigation into his lobbying activities, began lobbying on behalf of Tyco in the spring of 2003 and bragged about his ties to then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and Karl Rove, Bush’s top political aide.

“Members of this committee have asked a number of questions of Mr. Flanigan about these incidents, but each set of responses leads to more questions,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, the panel’s top Democrat, said in requesting a second hearing on Flanigan’s nomination. One had been scheduled for Oct. 18.

Lawmakers also have questioned Flanigan sharply about his role in crafting administration policy allowing aggressive interrogation techniques be used on detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Flanigan is not a target of the Abramoff investigation, a Justice Department official said on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing. Rather, Flanigan withdrew because he believes the Justice Department needs the deputy’s post filled quickly, the official said.

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