NEW YORK: India-born Preet Bharara, the former top federal prosecutor who was fired by the Trump administration after he refused to resign, will be temporarily replaced by his deputy until President Donald Trump nominates a candidate for the job who can be confirmed by the Senate.
Joon H Kim, 45, will serve as the Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, overseeing the investigation and litigation of all criminal and civil cases brought on behalf of the United States in the jurisdiction. Kim was the Deputy US Attorney for the Southern District, which had Bharara at its helm.
In a statement issued after he was fired, Bharara said the staff and colleagues at the Southern District "will continue to do the great work of the Office under the leadership of Joon H Kim, the current Deputy US Attorney, who will serve as Acting US Attorney."
As the Acting US Attorney, Kim will supervise an office of about 220 Assistant US Attorneys, who handle a high volume of important cases, including domestic and international terrorism, white collar crime, securities and commodities fraud, public corruption, cybercrime, narcotics and arms trafficking, gang violence, organised crime, and civil rights violations.
A Stanford University and Harvard Law School graduate, Kim had served for almost two years as the Deputy US Attorney, the second most senior official in the US Attorney’s Office, helping to oversee both the Criminal and Civil Divisions of the Office.
Prior to becoming Deputy US Attorney, Kim served from July 2014 to March 2017 as Chief of the Criminal Division, and prior to that served from April 2013 to July 2014 as Chief Counsel to the US Attorney, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District.
Before returning to the US Attorney’s Office in April 2013, Kim was a partner in the litigation and enforcement group at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. His practice at Cleary Gottlieb focused on white-collar criminal defence and regulatory enforcement, as well as commercial civil litigation and international arbitration. Kim had served as an Assistant US Attorney from 2000 to 2006, where he investigated and prosecuted a wide range of federal crimes, including racketeering, murder, money laundering, securities fraud, firearms and narcotics offenses, tax evasion, and terrorism.
Bharara’s firing was met with shock and criticism since then President-elect Trump had asked him in November to stay on in his position during a meeting at the Trump Towers. In a sudden move, the administration last week asked the 46 US Attorneys across the country, who had been appointed by former President Barack Obama, to submit their resignations. Bharara had refused to resign and was fired.