The Federal court for the Southern District of New York handles trials in New York City and neighboring counties. It’s the most respected trial court in America. That’s why it’s sometimes called “The Mother Court”:
We think of the Southern District as the Mother Court for many reasons beyond seniority and geographic significance. Nationally recognized for the outstanding quality of its judiciary, the excellence of the advocates who appear before it, its authoritative opinions grounded in real substance, the sensitive management of its docket, and its relevance to the rule of law, the Mother Court is the gold standard for trial courts around the United States. It is the country’s crucible of justice in the continuously unfolding history of our Nation. [American Bar Association]
It’s news, therefore, that 180 former Federal prosecutors for the Southern District are calling for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a Special Counsel to oversee the FBI investigation into DT’s campaign and Russia [City Project]:
May 12, 2017
Rod J. Rosenstein, Esq.
Deputy Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Dear Mr. Deputy Attorney General:
We, the undersigned, are former United States Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys for the Southern District of New York. In view of the recent termination of James Comey as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we are writing to request that you appoint a special counsel to oversee the FBI’s continuing investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election and related matters. This letter is addressed to you rather than the Attorney General since he has recused himself from this matter.
As you know, Jim has had a long and distinguished career with the Department of Justice, beginning with his appointment as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York serving under United States Attorneys Rudolph Giuliani, Benito Romano and Otto Obermaier from 1987 through 1993. He returned to the Southern District of New York in 2002 when he was appointed the United States Attorney and served in that capacity until he was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General in 2003. Most of us came to know Jim when he worked in the Southern District of New York. Many of us know him personally. All of us respect him as a highly professional and ethical person who has devoted more than 20 years of his life to public service.
While we do not all necessarily agree with the manner in which he dealt with the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, we sincerely believe that his abrupt and belated termination for this conduct, occurring months later and on the heels of his public testimony about his oversight of the investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, has the appearance – if not the reality – of interfering with that investigation. Even if this investigation continues unabated, there is a substantial risk that the American people will not have confidence in its results, no matter who is appointed to succeed him, given that the Director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the President. We believe it is critical in the present political climate and clearly in the public’s interest that this investigation be directed by a truly independent, non-partisan prosecutor who is independent of the Department of Justice, as is contemplated by 28 C.F.R. §600.1.
We are Republicans, Democrats and independents. Most importantly, we are proud alumni and alumnae of the Department of Justice. We do not suggest that you or any other members of the Department of Justice or a newly appointed Director of the FBI would not conduct yourselves properly, but the gravity of this investigation requires that even the appearance of political involvement in this investigation be avoided. As former prosecutors, we believe the only solution in the present circumstances would be to appoint a Special Counsel pursuant to 28 C.F.R. §600.1, and we urge you to take that course.
|Jonathan S. Abernethy||Elkan Abramowitz||Richard F. Albert|
|Marcus A. Asner||Martin J. Auerbach||Miriam Baer|
|Thomas H. Baer||Kerri Martin Bartlett||Maria Barton|
|Andrew Bauer||Bernard W. Bell||Richard Ben-Veniste|
|Neil S. Binder||Laura Gossfield Birger||Ira H. Block|
|Suzanne Jaffe Bloom||Barry A. Bohrer||Daniel H. Bookin|
|Jane E. Booth||Katharine Bostick||Laurie E. Brecher|
|David M. Brodsky||Stacey Mortiz Brodsky||William Bronner|
|Jennifer K. Brown||Marshall A. Camp||Bennett Capers|
|Michael Q. Carey||Neil S. Cartusciello||Sarah Chapman|
|Robert J. Cleary||Brian D. Coad||Glenn C. Colton|
|William Craco||Nelson W. Cunningham||Constance Cushman|
|Frederick T. Davis||John M. Desmarais||Rhea Dignam|
|Gregory L. Diskant||Philip L. Douglas||Sean Eskovitz|
|Jesse T. Fardella||Meir Feder||Ira M. Feinberg|
|Michael S. Feldberg||Steven D. Feldman||Edward T. Ferguson|
|David Finn||Eric P. Fisher||Sharon E. Frase|
|Steven I. Froot||Maria T. Galeno||Catherine Gallo|
|Robert Garcia||Kay K. Gardiner||Ronald L. Garnett|
|Scott Gilbert||Barbara S. Gillers||Mark Godsey|
|Joshua A. Goldberg||James A. Goldston||Mark P. Goodman|
|George I. Gordon||Sheila Gowan||Stuart GraBois|
|Paul R. Grand||Helen Gredd||Bruce Green|
|Marc L. Greenwald||Jamie Gregg||James G. Greilsheimer|
|Jane Bloom Grise||Nicole Gueron||Barbara Guss|
|Steven M. Haber||Jonathan Halpern||David Hammer|
|Jeffrey Harris||Mark D. Harris||Roger J. Hawke|
|Steven P. Heineman||Mark R. Hellerer||William Hibsher|
|Jay Holtmeier||John R. Horan||Patricia M. Hynes|
|Linda Imes||Douglas Jensen||James Kainen|
|Eugene Kaplan||Steven M. Kaplan||William C. Komaroff|
|David Koenigsberg||Cynthia Kouril||Mary Ellen Kris|
|Stephen Kurzman||Nicole LaBarbera||Kerry Lawrence|
|Sherry Leiwant||Jane A. Levine||Annmarie Levins|
|Raymond A. Levites||Donna H. Lieberman||Jon Liebman|
|Sarah E. Light||Jon Lindsey||Robin A. Linsenmayer|
|Edward J.M. Little||Mary Shannon Little||Walter Loughlin|
|Daniel Margolis||Walter Mack||Kathy S. Marks|
|Mark E. Matthews||Marvin S. Mayell||Sharon L. McCarthy|
|James J. McGuire||Joan McPhee||Christine Meding|
|Paul K. Milmed||Judith L. Mogul||David E. Montgomery|
|Lynn Neils||Peter Neiman||Rosemary Nidiry|
|Tai H. Park||Robert M. Pennoyer||Elliott R. Peters|
|Michael Pinnisi||Robert Plotz||Henry Putzel|
|T. Gorman Reilly||Emily Reisbaum||Peter Rient|
|Roland G. Riopelle||Michael A. Rogoff||Benito Romano|
|Amy Rothstein||Thomas C. Rubin||Daniel S. Ruzumna|
|Robert W. Sadowski||Elliot G. Sagor||Peter Salerno|
|Joseph F. Savage||John F. Savarese||Edward Scarvalone|
|Kenneth I. Schacter||Frederick Schaffer||Gideon A. Schor|
|Julian Schreibman||Wendy Schwartz||Linda Severin|
|David Siegal||Marjorie A. Silver||Paul H. Silverman|
|Charles Simon||Carolyn L. Simpson||David Sipiora|
|Dietrich L. Snell||Peter Sobol||Ira Lee Sorkin|
|David W. Spears||Katherine Stanton||Franklin H. Stone|
|Richard M. Strassberg||Howard S. Sussman||Erika Thomas|
|Richard Toder||Timothy J. Treanor||Paula Tuffin|
|Peter Vigeland||David Wales||Max Wild|
|Samuel J. Wilson||Elaine Wood||Paulette Wunsch|
|Thomas Zaccaro||Ellen Zimiles|
cc: Jefferson B. Sessions III, Esq.
Attorney General of the United States
This letter reflects the signers’ personal views, not of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Department of Justice, or any other government agency.
Note: It represents my personal views too, although I carry no weight with the Department of Justice and they’re too nice to Comey.
PS: It’s actually 179 former prosecutors, but as we used to say, that’s close enough for government work.