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Trump judicial nominee Matthew Spencer Petersen withdraws from consideration


Updated December 18, 2017 02:41 PM EST

The White House has confirmed that the nominee for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Matthew Petersen, has withdrawn from consideration.

Last week, Petersen became an internet sensation after a video clip showed him unable to answer basic questions about legal procedure.

Petersen is the third Trump judicial pick to withdraw after criticism was raised from Democrats and others about their qualifications.

In his letter to President Trump, Petersen says "I had hoped that my nearly two decades of public service would carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television."

He also said that he was withdrawing because he did not want to be a "continued distraction."

A lawyer nominated by President Donald Trump to be a federal judge has become an internet sensation after having difficulty answering basic legal questions.

A video of Matthew Spencer Petersen struggling with questions from Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, had been viewed more than 3 million times.

He acknowledged he has never tried a case or argued a motion in court. He said he last read the federal rules of evidence in law school.

Petersen, who serves on the Federal Election Commission, had difficulty answering questions about the “Daubert standard,” which has to do with expert witness testimony, and the definition of a “motion in limine,” which has to do with the introduction of evidence.

Petersen graduated from Brigham Young University. He earned a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1999.

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island posted video of the exchange on his Twitter account, labeling it “MUST WATCH.”

Whitehouse wrote: “Republican @SenJohnKennedy asks one of @realDonaldTrump’s US District Judge nominees basic questions of law & he can’t answer a single one. Hoo-boy.”

Petersen was nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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