Ousted U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman to testify before Congress in closed-door session

Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in New York, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee for a closed-door interview next week, a person familiar with the matter tells CBS News. Berman was removed from his role as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York last month.

He initially refused to leave office after Attorney General William Barr released a statement that he would be “stepping down.” Barr announced the next day that President Trump had fired Berman, who then said he would comply to “respect the normal operation of law.” 

His deputy, Audrey Strauss, is leading the high-profile office as the acting U.S. attorney. Mr. Trump intends to nominate Jay Clayton, the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to replace Berman.

Berman will appear for a transcribed interview before the Judiciary Committee on July 9, the source said.

Congressional Democrats expressed concern over Berman’s ouster, accusing the administration of removing Berman because he was involved in investigations into Mr. Trump’s associates. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said last month that none of the investigations underway in Berman’s office will be affected by his departure.

“The administration has very clearly outlined the reason that he is leaving, and it is because Mr. Clayton will be moved into that role,” she said.

Berman’s office investigated Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s longtime personal lawyer who pleaded guilty in November 2018 to charges of lying to Congress, and Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates of Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani, another personal attorney for Mr. Trump, was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1983 until 1989.   

Berman also oversaw the investigation into convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who died in an apparent suicide in jail while facing federal sex trafficking charges. 

Arden Farhi and Clare Hymes contributed to this report.

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