Sunday, 28 November 2021

Preet Bharara, the tenacious prosecutor fired by Trump

Preet Bharara

WASHINGTON: An Indian-born, New Jersey-raised Bruce Springsteen fan, former Manhattan federal attorney Preet Bharara ascended to rock-star status in the straitlaced world of law for his aggressive skewering of public corruption and Wall Street crime. And staying true to style, the outspoken holdover from the Obama era refused to go quietly when the White House requested his resignation on Friday, forcing the Trump administration to fire him. The federal attorney’s dismissal capped his arm wrestle with the executive branch that started when Bharara – perhaps the most high-profile US prosecutor in the nation – flouted the White House order that he along with dozens of other US prosecutors resign. “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired,” Bharara, 48, tweeted Saturday using his recently created personal account. The sapphire-eyed attorney took the helm of the prominent prosecutorial post in the throes of the mortgage crisis, becoming known as “the sheriff of Wall Street” for zealously pursuing white-collar criminals in wealthy Manhattan. In March 2016 he oversaw the shock US arrest of Turkish-Iranian gold mogul Reza Zarrab, who was connected to a 2013 corruption scandal that ensnared the government of then premier, now president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The news of Zarrab’s arrest stunned Turkey and boosted Bharara to Twitter fame, as tens of thousands of Turkish admirers followed his account and lavished the federal prosecutor with praise. One follower offered a smorgasbord of Turkish gifts: “Turkish raki, Shish Kebab, Lokuum, Turkish carpet. Just ask.” “Well, I do love shish kebab but I don’t think I can accept gifts just for doing my job…” Bharara tweeted back.

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