The dismissal of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, addresses a man who has a say in all of Donald Trump’s sensitive issues.
This is a termination that goes very poorly in the US. President Donald Trump’s decision to dismiss, Geoffrey Berman, Saturday, June 20, The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY, Southern District of New York) was seen as a serious attack on the United States legal system.
“The President and the Attorney General [William Barr, l’équivalent du ministre de la Justice, NDLR] has just questioned the very principle of impartiality of justice, which is one of the foundations of democracy and separates the United States from authoritarian regimes, “bitterly lamented 135 former members of the New York Prosecutor’s Office;in an open letter published on Sunday.
Responsible for the most important legal cases in the United States
Geoffrey Berman is not just a new name being added to the long list of people dismissed by Donald Trump after losing confidence. Prosecutors in the United States for the Southern District of New York are prominent figures in the political and legal landscape of the United States. James Comey, the former FBI director who became one of Donald Trump’s beasts, held the position, as did Preet Bharara, with the nickname “scourge” where it Wall Street “Sheriff”and who was Geoffrey Berman’s predecessor. Even Rudy Giuliani, when he was not yet Donald Trump’s trader, served as US attorney at SDNY before becoming mayor of New York.
“It is a political position – all 93 prosecutors in the United States are appointed by the president – that is part of a journey of excellence and often used as a stepping stone to a distinguished career,” concludes Anne Deysine, a specialist in the US political and judicial system at Paris Ouest Nanterre University and author of “United States and democracy”, contacted by France 24.
But Donald Trump and his attorney general, William Barr, have not only attacked a man, however influential he may be. By decapitating SDNY, they opened a front to an institution that the judiciary is perceived as “the most powerful after the Ministry of Justice“.
The Manhattan office “has the double reputation of being extremely honest and tirelessly pursuing most of the country’s heavier and more important legal cases,” says Anne Deysine. The September 11, 2001 investigation, the dismantling of the New York Mafia, the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, most cases of international corruption or insider trading on Wall Street are within its jurisdiction.
Prosecutors in the United States of Southern New York also want to emphasize their commitment to absolute independence from political power. So much so that the office has earned the nickname “Sovereign District of New York” in the legal community. “The only time Preet Bharara got really angry with me was when I referred to the United States Attorney General as my” boss. “He replied very briefly that he was neither my boss nor his, even though that is the case on paper,” says Elie Honig , a former member of the SDNY office team, interviewed by Talking Feds, a podcast about US legal news.
Threats to Donald Trump’s men and business
Pugnacity, integrity and independence: a holy trinity that makes these New York prosecutors “the greatest threat to Donald Trump”, had already estimated Chris Chrisie in 2019, the former governor of New Jersey and a longtime ally of the president. In fact, the Trump Empire is headquartered in Manhattan, just in New York’s southern district office.
When Donald Trump dismissed declared Democrat Preet Bharara in February 2017, Donald Trump hoped to find some more understanding for Geoffrey Berman’s person. After all, this Republican had contributed financially to the successful campaign for the businessman.
But this lawyer has shown that he has placed the values in the US law firm over his loyalty to the president’s party. Even Preet Bharara recognized that his successor had “defended the tradition of independence and integrity of service”. Since his appointment, Geoffrey Berman has not been afraid to “attack the loved ones and Trump’s financial interests,” notes Anne Deysine.
He sentenced Michael Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, to three years in prison investigated the fraud charges against Deutsche Bank, the German bank that lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the real estate agent and launched an investigation into funding for the inauguration of Donald Trump. Proceedings have also been opened against Rudy Giuliani, accused of breaking the law by trying to pick the reputation of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
A dismissed farewell
The latest development, the investigation against the Turkish public bank Halkbank, suspected of violating the US embargo on Iran, also appears to generate Donald Trump. In his scandalous book about the president, John Bolton, former national security adviser, claims that the tenant of the White House 2018 assured Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that he would stifle this matter. He just needed to put “his men” on the New York Southern District Prosecutor’s Office, he told the Turkish leader …
So many sticks in the presidential race that finally would have decided Donald Trump to get rid of the mighty US prosecutor. But with William Barr, they got stuck in legal complications. In fact, it was the Attorney General who announced on Friday, June 19, the resignation of Geoffrey Berman and his replacement by Jay Clayton, a lawyer with no experience in criminal matters. “That No! “, the New York prosecutor repliedand assured that he would only leave if Donald Trump forced him.
A rebellion that drove the face-to-face meeting between New York’s Southern District Attorney’s Office and the White House into the center of media attention. William Barr then assured that Donald Trump had decided to dismiss him, but the screams aroused by this authority forced him to make a big resignation. He had to accept that the interim period, pending the confirmation of Jay Clayton’s appointment by the Senate, would be secured by the assistant to Geoffrey Berman: a Democrat with a reputation for integrity which should not make Donald Trump’s business easier. “Currently, Geoffrey Berman’s resistance has worked and Donald Trump and William Barr are stuck,” says Anne Deysine. The president has managed to get rid of a threat … to inherit another.