The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman, released a statement in response to a press release from U.S. Attorney General Barr which said that Berman was “stepping down” from his position in the SDNY. Berman’s statement said “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of the Office to pursue justice without fear or favor – and intend to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded.”
Attorney General William P. Barr issued a press release via the Department Of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs on Friday, June 19, 2020 which said that:
“I am pleased to announce that President Trump intends to nominate Jay Clayton, currently the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to serve as the next United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.” Full text of press release here.
The announcement goes on to say that the President has appointed Craig Carpenito, currently the U.s. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, to serve as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York while the Senate is considering Jay Clayton’s nomination. This appointment will be effective July 2 and Craig will work closely with the outgoing U.S. Attorney to ensure a smsooth transition.
The announcement then says Berman is stepping down after two and a half years of service and that he served with “tenacity and savvy.” Geoff (Berman) has done an excellent job leading one of our nation’s most significant U.S. Attorney’s Offices, achieving many successes on consequential civil and criminal matters.”
Given that AG Barr’s announcement says the President is appointing Carpenito to serve as acting U.S. Attorney for SDNY, it is unclear how Berman can refuse to step down. The tweet below shows 28 U.S. Code 541 which states: “Each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President.”