Geoffrey Berman abruptly resigns: Powerful US attorney in New York investigated Trump associates

Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to replace him.

Berman’s unexpected exit is likely to draw scrutiny inside the US attorney’s office and among career prosecutors.

Barr was in New York on Friday, according to the Justice Department. It’s not clear whether he met with Berman, and the Justice Department declined to say whether Berman was asked to resign.

Tensions between the New York and Washington offices have grown with Berman and Barr butting heads over the handling of some cases, including the indictment of Turkish bank Halkbank.

Last fall, Justice Department officials discussed replacing Berman with Ed O’Callaghan, a senior official, but then prosecutors indicted Rudy Guiliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, a move that appeared to extend Berman’s tenure.

Berman has been US attorney for Manhattan since 2018. Under his leadership the office prosecuted Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen and is investigating Giuliani.

Berman’s replacement, Clayton, has never been a prosecutor. Before he was nominated to the SEC post by Trump, he was a corporate lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell. If confirmed, Clayton would be the first non-prosecutor to lead SDNY.

Barr said Trump has appointed Craig Carpenito, currently the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, to serve as the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York until Clayton is confirmed. Carpentio will begin the role on July 3.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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