Acting US Attorney overseeing Giuliani, Bannon probes to stay on
The federal prosecutor who has supervised the Justice Department’s cases against several allies of President Trump will officially begin serving as a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Audrey Strauss, who was an acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York starting over the summer, will fill the role on a more permanent basis on Jan. 16 until a nominee from the Biden administration is confirmed by the Senate. The judges of the Federal District Court in Manhattan formally appointed her to the role Tuesday.
The court did not give a reason for why it exercised its rare power to keep Strauss in her role. The decision means she will continue serving in one of the nation’s highest-profile Justice Department roles until she is replaced by a Biden nominee.
“I am deeply grateful for the Court’s support and the opportunity to continue serving the people of New York and this country,” Strauss said in a statement. “It is the privilege of a lifetime to lead the women and men of this District as they pursue justice without fear or favor and write the latest chapter in this Office’s proud legacy.”
Before taking on the acting U.S. attorney job, Strauss was a deputy U.S. attorney and helped run several investigations, including those into former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Stephen Bannon, two close allies of the White House.
She became acting U.S. attorney after Attorney General William Barr dismissed her predecessor, Geoffrey Berman, in June. Her term in the role on an acting capacity would have expired on Jan. 15, five days before Biden is inaugurated.
Berman’s dismissal at the time was widely panned by critics who accused the administration of trying to push out a prosecutor whose office was investigating the president’s associates. The probes into Giuliani and Bannon remain ongoing, and reports have surfaced indicating that the Southern District of New York has been in touch with officials in Washington to try to access Giuliani’s emails.
Berman fought his dismissal in June and relented only when Barr assured him Strauss, his handpicked deputy, would be able to fill his vacancy on an acting basis.