Christopher B. Craig, one of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo’s most loyal aides and widely considered among the best legal minds in the Capitol, has resigned from the Senate after 16 years.

It’s unclear why Craig, who is credited with writing the landmark 2004 law legalizing slot machines in Pennsylvania, resigned from his $158,300-a-year-post as a top lawyer for Senate Democrats. Attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful today, his last day.

But several sources familiar with the matter said that Craig resigned after learning that he would not be continuing as the chief counsel to Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee and would be reassigned to a lower legal post. Still, after he submitted his letter of resignation recently, Craig’s allies tried to land him another top job in the chamber only for Senate Minority Leader Bob Mellow (D., Lackawanna) to block the efforts.

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