U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman is leaving as head of the powerful Southern District of New York, Attorney General William Barr announced late Friday. The Manhattan office is one of the nation’s mightiest districts, trying major cases against the mobsters, terrorists — and allies of President Donald Trump, including his personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
But Berman issued his own statement following Barr’s announcement, saying that he is not resigning and has “no intention of resigning my position.”
NEW: Geoff Berman statement:“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney. I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position" pic.twitter.com/L6PQCF9bdU
— erica orden (@eorden) June 20, 2020
Barr’s announcement Friday came just days after allegations by Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton that the president sought to block a Southern District probe into the Turkish Halkbank in a bid to cut deals with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The resignation was announced by Barr shortly after the attorney general met with police officials in New York.
A source told HuffPost that the departure was unimaginable. Berman, the source said, had just sent a video message to the staff Thursday about the use of personal protective gear in the office.
Barr announced Berman’s departure in a press release. He said that Trump has nominated the current chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton — who has virtually no experience as a prosecutor — to replace him.
BREAKING: U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman is stepping down from his role as head of revered SDNY, according to DOJ.In a late Friday night press release Attorney General Bar announces President Trump has nominated current head of SEC Jay Clayton to replace him. Story TK. pic.twitter.com/FONE5TSACU
— Pervaiz Shallwani (@Pervaizistan) June 20, 2020
In Berman’s statement, however, he said he would not leave until the Senate confirms a replacement.