RK&O partners David B. Massey and Lee S. Richards III join more than 150 former prosecutors to denounce the firing of Manhattan U.S. Attorney

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June 23, 2020

RK&O partners David B. Massey and Lee S. Richards III joined more than 150 former federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in condemning the firing of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman by President Trump and Attorney General Barr. Mr. Massey served as served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2004 to 2013; Mr. Richards served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1977 to 1983.   

In the statement released on June 20, 2020, the the former prosecutors said:

We, all former U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York, deplore the recent actions of President Trump and Attorney General Barr in summarily firing U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman without cause.

Founded in 1789, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York was the first federal attorney’s office in the young country and for over 200 years has stood for the independence of the administration of Justice—independent of political and personal interests of the Executive branch of the Government and independent of other special interests. It was, for example, a Republican-appointed U.S. Attorney who prosecuted former members of Richard Nixon’s cabinet and a Democratic-appointed U.S. Attorney who prosecuted one of the most powerful Democrats in the State. The impartial administration of Justice is what distinguishes the United States from authoritarian regimes around the world and is fundamental to our democracy.   The President and the Attorney General have put this long and important tradition at risk.

The actions of the President and the Attorney General are an attack on the concept that investigations should be conducted in a nonpartisan manner. They are politicizing an office that for more than 200 years has remained apolitical, and are undermining confidence in our criminal justice system. We call on our elected officials—Republicans and Democrats alike—to take all appropriate action to protect the administration of justice in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere from this kind of political interference.

Click here to view the List of Signatories.

   

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