ALBANY, N.Y. — New York-based U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Saturday that the Trump administration fired him after he refused to its request to resign along with 45 other U.S. attorneys across the nation.
“I did not resign,” Bharara said on Twitter. “Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY (Southern District of New York) will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.”
The surprising decision by the Trump administration late Friday to dismiss 46 federal prosecutors held over from the Obama administration, including Bharara, sent shockwaves through New York.
CNN and other media outlets had reported Saturday that Bharara is refusing to resign, instead forcing the hand of President Trump to fire him publicly.
Bharara’s departure was seen a major blow to the crusading prosecutor’s quest to root out corruption in state and local governments.
Since taking office in 2009, the Westchester County resident led the successful conviction of the state’s two former legislative leaders, Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver, and is in the middle of prosecuting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aides for alleged bid rigging and kickbacks.
The cases could go to trial as early as this spring.
“It’s shocking because he’s done a great job,” said Blair Horner, the legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group.