Taking the advice of Norm Maleng's family and top deputies, the Metropolitan King County Council on Tuesday named his longtime chief of...

Share story

Taking the advice of Norm Maleng’s family and top deputies, the Metropolitan King County Council on Tuesday named his longtime chief of staff, Dan Satterberg, to serve as acting King County prosecuting attorney.

Maleng’s wife, Judy, and son Mark were on hand for the appointment and for tributes to Maleng from all nine council members. The meeting, which began with a moment of silence, was as much memorial service as business meeting.

Mark Maleng offered his own memories of his father — and endorsed Satterberg’s appointment.

“There is no one more qualified to be prosecutor than Dan Satterberg,” Maleng said. … “Dan Satterberg is a man of principle, integrity and humility. My mom and I enthusiastically support the council’s soon-to-be-unanimous vote to install Dan Satterberg as interim prosecutor.”

Moments later the council did vote unanimously to appoint him acting prosecutor — to a standing ovation from prosecutors, county officials and members of the Maleng and Satterberg families.

King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie then swore in Satterberg, 47.

Norm Maleng, a Republican who was prosecuting attorney for 28 years, died unexpectedly Thursday. He was 68.

Maleng memorial

A memorial service for King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday at Edmundson Pavilion at the University of Washington.

Satterberg will serve as acting prosecutor at least until the County Council appoints a prosecutor from a list of three candidates to be provided by the King County Republican Central Committee.

The Republican-nominated appointee, who must be chosen within 60 days of Maleng’s death, will serve until certification of the Nov. 6 election, when voters will decide who should complete the final three years of Maleng’s term.

Satterberg said he hasn’t decided whether to file as a candidate for the Republican primary in August. Candidates must file to run in the election by the end of next week.

“I’m going to talk to a lot of people and get advice,” he said. “I’ve never run for office and never had any burning desire to be an elected official, but I love the office [of the prosecuting attorney]. … and I’ll do everything I can do to keep the legacy of Norm Maleng alive.”

A Republican, Satterberg said he hasn’t been involved in partisan politics or the inner workings of the party. If he decides to run, he said, “I’m going to get a crash course in how to run for office.”

Satterberg is a graduate of Highline High School in Burien, the University of Washington and the UW School of Law.

He lives in Normandy Park with his wife, corporate attorney Linda Norman, and their two children.

Maleng hired Satterberg as a deputy criminal prosecutor in 1985 and promoted him to chief of staff in 1990.

Maleng’s top deputies agreed Satterberg should be appointed acting prosecutor. Chief Civil Deputy Sally Bagshaw informed County Council Chairman Larry Gossett of that consensus Saturday, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office.

“It became clear to everyone that Dan Satterberg is the logical choice for the job. Everyone recognizes that he has a vast knowledge of the workings of all aspects of the King County Prosecutor’s Office,” Donohoe said. “It’s something Norm would have wanted.”

County Council members remembered Maleng for promoting Drug Court, Mental Health Court and other initiatives to move more nonviolent offenders out of jail into treatment programs.

Council members Kathy Lambert, R-Redmond, and Julia Patterson, D-SeaTac, recalled a less widely known side of Maleng: his religious faith.

While wrestling with whether to seek the death penalty against “Green River killer” Gary L. Ridgway, Lambert said, Maleng turned for guidance to the Bible and prayer.

Ridgway’s life was spared in exchange for his guilty pleas to killing 48 women and help in locating the victims’ remains.

“Norm Maleng was a kind and wise and gentle spiritual leader,” Patterson said. “He was a political leader, but still he was at the same time a spiritual leader.”

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com