BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The five federally recognized American Indian tribes in North Dakota have endorsed longtime Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter to be the state's next top federal prosecutor.

The move followed tribal officials' interviews of Hochhalter and competitor Drew Wrigley, The Bismarck Tribune reported .

"The board interviewed both candidates evenly and thoroughly, reviewed their written submitted materials, and reviewed their public records, actions and comments on law enforcement in Indian Country," the tribes said. "Having done so, the UTND (United Tribes of North Dakota) endorses Clare Hochhalter for the U.S. Attorney for North Dakota."

Hochhalter said he feels "very honored and grateful for their support."

Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II said he was influenced by Wrigley's statements that protests against the Dakota Access pipeline were unlawful and dangerous.

"I would rather have somebody who I know doesn't have a biased opinion towards the tribes," Archambault said.

Wrigley said he "spoke to the need for law and order" and that the protests had "spun out of control." He also said he would prosecute crimes in reservations and visit the tribes early in his tenure.

Archambault said he feels Hochhalter would make a "great U.S. attorney" because it seemed he knew "a little more about federal law when applied to the tribes."

Hochhalter is the criminal chief out of the U.S. attorney's office in Bismarck. Wrigley is a former U.S. attorney and lieutenant governor who works at Sanford Health.

U.S. Attorney Chris Myers removed himself from consideration in May.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune,