Holding the Line: Inside the Nation’s Preeminent US Attorney’s Office and Its Battle with the Trump Justice Department
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Politics & Government
“Throughout my tenure as US attorney, Trump’s Justice Department kept
demanding that I use my office to aid them politically, and I kept
declining – in ways just tactful enough to keep me from being fired. I
walked this tightrope for two and a half years. Eventually, the rope
snapped.” – from Holding the Line”A cautionary tale about how political
forces can undermine the quest for justice.” – Barbara McQuade, The
Washington PostThe gripping and explosive memoir of serving as US Attorney
for the Southern District of New York, in the face of the Justice
Department’s attempts to protect Trump’s friends and punish his enemies.
Ascending to the leadership role of US Attorney for the Southern District,
which includes Manhattan and several counties to the north, is a capstone
to any legal career: it entails guiding a team of the best lawyers in
America in selecting and winning cases that often have global import.
Geoffrey Berman was honored to be tapped for the job by Donald Trump in
2018. The manner in which Trump had dispatched his predecessor Preet
Bharara was troubling, but the institution was fabled for its independence.
Surely he could manage. So began one of the most tumultuous
two-and-a-half-year stretches in the over two-hundred-thirty year history
of the office. Almost immediately, Berman found himself pushing back
against the Trump Justice Department’s blatant efforts to bring weak cases
against political foes and squash worthy cases that threatened to tarnish
allies and Trump himself. When Bill Barr became attorney general, Berman
hoped and believed things would get better, but instead they got much
worse. The heart of Holding the Line is his never-before-told account of
the lengths Barr went to in corrupting the independence of the office, and
the lengths Berman had to go in preserving it. Finally, Trump and Barr, fed
up with Berman’s principles, summarily fired him, though he refused to go
quietly and prevented Barr from installing someone who might be more
compliant. Berman’s determined defense of the values of prosecutorial
independence, without fear or favor, made him a hero to everyone who shares
those values. Holding the Line also relates the remarkable casework of
the Southern District in Berman’s time there, including taking down
notorious sex traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Lawrence Ray, Big Pharma
executives, and vicious criminal syndicates, and repatriating Nazi-looted
art. Riveting in themselves, these stories showcase the esprit de corps
that makes the Southern District so special, and the stakes Berman felt in
protecting its integrity against all foes, up to and including the US
attorney general and the president of the United States. Read more


Genre Politics & Social Sciences

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