More than 100 former Manhattan prosecutors condemned the firing of former Southern District of New York (SDNY) U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in a Sunday letter.
At least 135 former U.S. attorneys and assistant U.S. attorneys signed an open letter saying they “deplore” President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE and Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMilley moved to limit Trump military strike abilities after Jan. 6, Woodward book claims: report Former US attorney enters race for governor in Pennsylvania Families of 9/11 victims hope for answers about Saudi involvement in attacks MORE’s firing of Berman “without cause,” according to a letter obtained by Corporate Crime Reporter.
“The actions of the President and the Attorney General are an attack on the concept that investigations should be conducted in a nonpartisan manner,” the former prosecutors said. “They are politicizing an office that for more than 200 years has remained apolitical, and are undermining confidence in our criminal justice system.”
“We call on our elected officials – Republicans and Democrats alike – to take all appropriate action to protect the administration of justice in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere from this kind of political interference,” the letter continued.
The former prosecutors cite that the SDNY was the first federal attorney’s office and has “stood for the independence of the administration of Justice” for more than 200 years.
“The impartial administration of Justice is what distinguishes the United States from authoritarian regimes around the world and is fundamental to our democracy,” the letter reads. “The President and the Attorney General have put this long and important tradition at risk.”
The letter also referenced former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Ex-Trump adviser Bolton defends Milley: 'His patriotism is unquestioned' MORE’s interview set to air on ABC Sunday night, in which he said the president proposed intervening in an SDNY investigation into the Turkish state-owned bank Halkbank.
In a preview clip, Bolton said the president had discussed the case with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who wanted a settlement for the bank, which was charged in a six-count criminal indictment with fraud, money laundering and sanction offenses.
"And the president said to Erdoğan at one point, 'Look, those prosecutors in New York are Obama people. Wait till I get my people in, and then we'll take care of this,’” he said.
The Justice Department announced Berman would be “stepping down” on Friday, but the attorney refused to resign without a Senate approved replacement. Barr asked Trump to officially fire Berman on Saturday.
Berman’s office has been investigating Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFEC finds Twitter didn't break law by blocking spread of Hunter Biden story Juan Williams: The toxic legacy of Trump's corruption Giuliani associate pleads guilty to soliciting foreign campaign contributions MORE and had prosecuted his former lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenAndrew Cuomo and the death of shame Prosecutors considered charging Trump Organization CFO with perjury: report Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip MORE, among other associates.