Schumer calls for investigation into Berman firing

Wednesday, 24 Jun, 2020

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman reportedly was sacked because he refused to sign a Justice Department letter critical of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's social distancing rules, which accused him of applying them to religious gatherings, but not racial justice protests.

The Trump administration's removal of the attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) from office has created a political mess.

Trump fired Berman's predecessor, Preet Bharara, after he refused to resign. Another attraction was that the job would allow him to be in NY, where his family lives. Acting Attorney General of the United States during the early Clinton administration. Bharara wrote in a follow-up tweet that reflected the mystery hitting the office again now.

According to the BBC, Trump states that he is "not involved" in Berman's firing.

Bharara refused to quit, only to be fired the next day.

A number of Democrats have accused Trump of trying to politicise the Justice Department.

"Well, that's all up to the Attorney General".

"Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning".

As a result, Berman's job often appeared to be in jeopardy.

He explained he was appointed by Manhattan federal judges and wouldn't budge until a successor was confirmed by Congress. That phrase, a projection if there ever was one, was in a letter sent to Berman saying that he was sacked, attributing the move to Trump.

If Clayton does leave the SEC before his term is up in June 2021, lawyers say there will not be wide-sweeping policy changes in the municipal space but said there could be some nuanced changes on how the SEC approaches enforcement.

Berman has also probed several people who were once close to Trump, including Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, and his current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Because the Senate ends its session in August and would most likely not hold hearings on a permanent replacement before November, Strauss will likely remain acting USA attorney until the election.

Berman, in his latest statement Saturday evening, said that he is stepping down as SDNY attorney, effective immediately.

"Well, we don't know that", Nadler said.

The Southern District of NY is among the most prominent districts in the United States.

Its work has even been fictionalized on the popular Showtime series "Billions".

Nadler said, "We are talking about the budget in the Department of Justice". They're eager to do the work that they came there to do. You're telling me that.

"He has certainly used the position as a bully pulpit to encourage more frequent and more timely and more fulsome disclosure, in part by his recent statement with the director of OMS, in part by asking for the staff legal bulletin and in part by speeches at different conferences", said Rick Weber, counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright.

The office's alumni in Washington regularly meet up for casual gatherings, departing prosecutors are roasted in raucous, private gatherings, and hundreds gathered for a gala affair in 2014 in Manhattan. He has not brought charges against any of Epstein's associates despite widespread calls to do so.

Napolitano said he didn't know what Berman would say, but added that "the [Geoffrey] Berman that I know will probably respect the confidentiality of the investigations that the office is managing as we speak".