John C. Shepherd, Attorney General Edwin Meese III's choice for the Justice Department's No. 2 job, has "expressed reservations" about taking the job, a department spokesman said Friday night.

In a meeting Friday in Meese's office, Shepherd "expressed reservations he has about coming to Washington based on family concerns," spokesman Terry Eastland said.The St. Louis attorney recommended by Meese to become deputy attorney general is "now mulling over the situation to determine what he does next," Eastland said.

An administration source said Shepherd and his wife were upset that Meese's recommendation had focused unwanted attention and publicity on the trial of a former bookkeeper in his law firm and her allegations.