Tough-on-cor­rup­tion prose­cu­tor tells Trump he’ll stay

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Larry Neumeis­ter

Fi­nan­cial cheaters and cor­rupt politi­cians be­ware: One of Amer­ica’s hard­est-charg­ing prose­cu­tors isn’t go­ing any­where.

Man­hat­tan U.S. At­tor­ney Preet Bharara’s brief an­nounce­ment that he has agreed to stay on in the Don­ald Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion sig­nals in at least one way that the pres­i­dent-elect may be se­ri­ous about keep­ing his cam­paign prom­ise to crack down on cor­rup­tion.

Bharara, who was once lauded on the cover of Time magazine as the man who is “bust­ing Wall Street,” has in the past few years set his sights on pros­e­cut­ing more than a dozen state of­fice­hold­ers, in­clud­ing New York’s two most pow­er­ful law­mak­ers. And lately he has hinted that there may be more pros­e­cu­to­rial sur­prises to come.

“I said I would absolutely con­sider stay­ing on. ... I agreed to stay on,” the quick-wit­ted Bharara told re­porters in Trump Tower after his meet­ing with Trump on Wed­nes­day, adding that the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man asked him to re­main “pre­sum­ably be­cause he’s a New Yorker and is aware of the great work that our of­fice has done.”

The sur­prise meet­ing ended months of spec­u­la­tion on whether Bharara would stay on after Pres­i­dent Barack Obama leaves of­fice in Jan­uary. Though oth­ers who have held his job have gone on to other high-pro­file po­si­tions, such as for­mer New York Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani and cur­rent FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey, Bharara has re­peat­edly in­sisted in in­ter­views that he has the job he wants.

The 48-year-old, In­dian-born Bharara, who holds de­grees from Har­vard and Columbia Law, was ap­pointed by Obama in 2009 in the midst of the worst fi­nan­cial cri­sis since the Great De­pres­sion. He talked tough against whitecol­lar crime and won con­vic­tions against dozens of de­fen­dants in in­sider-trad­ing cases.

More re­cently, he’s built his rep­u­ta­tion on his as­sault on pub­lic cor­rup­tion, which in­cluded the ar­rests of two of the three most pow­er­ful politi­cians in New York state. The cases against for­mer New York As­sem­bly Speaker Shel­don Silver and for­mer Se­nate ma­jor­ity leader Dean Ske­los re­sulted in con­vic­tions. And there has been much spec­u­la­tion whether Bharara would go after the power trio, Demo­cratic Gov. last mem­ber of the state’s An­drew Cuomo.

EVAN VUCCI — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

United States At­tor­ney Gen­eral for the South­ern Dis­trict of New York Preet Bharara speaks with re­porters at Trump Tower, Wed­nes­day, Nov. 30, 2016, in New York.

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