In our OpenCdA post yesterday we expressed hope that President Trump would ask Preet Bharara to remain as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara was fearless, absolutely unimpressed with a suspect’s political office, social position, connections, or wealth. He had a remarkable record of successfully prosecuting some of the worst of the worst criminals in New York, including several prominent corrupt state legislators and other officials as well as financiers.
Bharara had met with President-elect Trump in November and had reportedly been told by Trump and Attorney General nominee Sessions he would be asked to stay on as the US Attorney.
After refusing to submit his resignation, Bharara was formally fired today at President Trump’s direction by acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente.
Bharara will do just fine on the outside. In fact, OpenCdA thinks he would make a pretty good federal district court or appeals court judge. Hopefully that’s what President Trump has in mind for him.
Unfortunately, the real losers are the people in the southern district of New York who had come to trust Bharara and his very capable Assistant US Attorneys to stand up against corrupt public officials, white collar crime predators, and organized crime families. Bharara’s office was so successful because he attracted high-quality, experienced lawyers to leave often lucrative private practices and enter the public service.
Unlike Main Justice in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York didn’t have any swamp water that needed to be drained. We can only hope that whoever President Trump nominates to replace Preet Bharara will be able to continue to attract and retain the best AUSAs.
The capable career prosecutors, the AUSAs, need a strong US Attorney to keep the political hacks off their backs. Preet Bharara did that very effectively. We hope that’s not why President Trump fired him.