By Suman Guha Mozumder
reet Bharara, the U.S.
attorney fired by
President Donald Trump
in March, says everyone
is affected when democ-
racy is undermined and
that his job was not to serve
Barack Obama or Donald Trump
but only the interests of justice.
During a conversation with
Trevor Morrison, dean of New
York University’s School of Law
on May 12 Bharara — now a distinguished scholar in residence at
the school — talked about his
career and gave advice for students interested in joining the
Department of Justice.
He said being U.S. attorney is
the most gratifying job a person
can have and he doubts he will
have anything like that again.
He said one of the key distinctions of a good U.S. attorney is to
value all cases equally. “You are
judged as a professional by making sure that you put the same
level of effort, integrity, and
excellence into the small cases as
well as the big—as the cases that
everyone is watching because
they’re high profile,” he said.
Some of the high-profile cases
Bharara led resulted in the con-
victions of former New York
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon
Silver, a Democrat, and former
New York State Senate Majority
Leader Dean Skelos, a
Republican, on federal corrup-
Cases like these, Bharara said,
are particularly significant
because of the ways in which
public corruption affects the pop-
ulation at large. “When democra-
cy is undermined, everyone is
affected by that, whether you
vote or not, whether you care or
not, whether you’re a
Republican, a Democrat, or an
Independent,” Bharara said.
Bharara said he was also particularly proud of his work
towards reforming Rikers Island.
As U.S. attorney, Bharara joined a
class action suit originally filed
by Rikers Island inmates. “We
brought criminal cases against
guards who had trampled on the
constitutional rights of people
who had gone to prison, and we
also joined a lawsuit to make
sure that reforms take place.
There are still investigations
going on today,” Bharara said.
“In any just and fair society, in
the same way the wealthy should
care about the poor, the healthy
should care about the sick, the
prosecutor should care about the
prisoner,” he said.
Reflecting on the breadth of
work he did during his tenure of
nearly eight years, Bharara
encouraged students interested
in public service to seek out positions at the DOJ.
Morrison noted that a number
of students who were interested
in joining the DOJ had expressed
concerns that the politics of the
current administration are now
very far from their own.
In response, Bharara stressed
the independence of the U.S.
“The mass of what goes on in
any U.S. attorney’s office … is not
political and doesn’t become
political, no matter who the pres-
ident is,” Bharara said. “My job
was not to serve the president,
whether that’s Barack Obama or
Donald Trump or anyone else. It
was to serve the public, and to
serve the interests of justice.”
Bharara also pointed to work
that garnered less press that he
said was nevertheless important:
He was able to combat gang vio-
lence, making cities such as
Newburgh and Yonkers safer.
“People don’t appreciate the
wide range of things that you can
do at a U.S. attorney’s office,” he
INDIA ABROAD May 26, 2017 T2 NY/NJ/CT
An Attorney for the People
Preet Bharara says U.S. attorney serves justice, not president
Don’t Play with Fire in Kashmir, BJP Leader Warns Pakistan
Moti Kaul, vice president of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jammu and Kashmir chapter, has warned Pakistan not to play with fire. Speaking at an event in New York hosted by the Overseas Friends of BJP, Kaul said since
independence and accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, Pakistan has played a spoiler by instigating certain vulnerable sections of the society in the valley. The successive governments in the state kept the pot
boiling and religious extremism and radicalization was slowly but strategically nurtured, he said. Kaul is currently visiting the U.S. to highlight the contours of New India as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While
presenting a comprehensive report on India’s development since Modi’s take over, Kaul explained in detail the growth trajectory during just three years of the BJP-led government. “The despair and gloom that prevailed for
many decades has changed to positivity and hope,” he said. A similar event was also held in New Jersey.