New York federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, who refused to resign when he and 45 other prosecutors were asked to by the Trump administration, has been sacked.
Preet Bharara tweeted: “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired.”
He was first asked to remain in his post by President Donald Trump, when they met after the election.
However, on March 10 Preet Bharara was included in a list of prosecutors appointed by former President Barack Obama who were asked by the DoJ to step down.
Preet Bharara continued on Twitter: “Being the US Attorney in SDNY [South District New York] will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.”
Presidents often order appointees of the previous administration to resign but the decision to replace so many in one swoop raised eyebrows.
Preet Bharara’s inclusion in the list came as a particular surprise. He told reporters in November that he had been asked by Donald Trump to stay on, and had agreed.
He rose to prominence after pursuing high-profile corruption cases and cases against Wall Street bankers.
Image source Twitter
The prosecutor won a $1.8 billion insider-trading case against hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, the largest in history. SAC was forced to close down.
Preet Bharara has also prosecuted both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
Among his current cases was an investigation into fundraising by New York mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as a harassment case against Fox News by its employees.
After it was reported on March 11 that he had refused to resign, top New York Republican Brian Kolb tweeted: “Good for Preet, he is doing the job he was appointed to do!”
On March 11, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement: “President Trump’s abrupt and unexplained decision to summarily remove over 40 US attorneys has once again caused chaos in the federal government.
“Preet Bharara, like many of the US attorneys dismissed this week, served with honor and distinction.”
However, ex-Republican strategist Brian Walsh argued that the firing was “nothing new” as “US attorneys serve at the pleasure of the [president] – even Preet”.
Preet Bharara’s office and the DoJ refused to comment further, according to the Associated Press.
Saudi national Khalid al-Fawwaz, a former aide of Osama Bin Laden, has been found guilty of plotting the al-Qaeda bombing of US embassies in east Africa in 1998 that killed 224 people.
Khalid al-Fawwaz, 53, was convicted by a New York court after three days of jury deliberations.
Extradited from the UK to the US in 2012, Khalid al-Fawwaz was found guilty on four conspiracy counts and now faces a possible life sentence.
Khalid al-Fawwaz has been described as Osama Bin Laden’s spokesman in London.
A statement from Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the defendant “played a critical role for al-Qaeda in its murderous conspiracy against America”.
There were a dozen Americans among the dead after US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania were bombed in 1998.
He was arrested in London in the same year as the bombings and extradited 14 years later.
Preet Bharara described Khalid al-Fawwaz as one of Osama Bin Laden’s “original and most trusted lieutenants” who was the leader of an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, then later acted as Bin Laden’s “media adviser” in London.
One of his roles, Preet Bharara said, was to ensure Osama Bin Laden’s threats against the US were distributed and noticed across the globe.
“Murderous words lead to murderous action,” assistant Attorney Nicholas Lewin told jurors.
The trial, which lasted a month under very heavy security in Manhattan, did not feature any testimony from the defendant.
When the verdict was read out, Khalid al-Fawwaz stood expressionless.
Five other people have already been convicted in New York for the embassy attacks.