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Top Manhattan prosecutor leaves job after standoff with Barr

Manhattan Federal Prosecutor
Posted at 4:35 PM, Jun 20, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr has told the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan that President Donald Trump has removed him from the job.

The extraordinary standoff between Attorney General William Barr and the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan has ended.

The prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, stepped down Saturday after Barr agreed that his deputy could replace him.

The powerful prosecutor in the Southern District of New York had been overseeing investigations of Trump’s allies.

He showed up to work Saturday morning, telling reporters, “I’m just here to do my job.” Late Friday, Barr announced that Berman had resigned, but Berman denied it, saying media reports were the first he'd heard of it.

In a letter made public by the Justice Department later Saturday, Barr said he expected to continue speaking with Berman about other possible positions within the department and was surprised by the statement he released.

“Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service,” Barr wrote, adding that the idea that Berman had to continue on the job to safeguard investigations was “false.”

AP reports, Barr said in his letter that the deputy U.S. attorney, Audrey Strauss, would take over the top job until a permanent successor is in place.