With the indictment Thursday of associates of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, New York federal prosecutors are yet again behind a criminal case that threatens Trump’s inner circle.
That has raised fears in law-enforcement circles that the head of the office, Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, could be in the crosshairs of the President. But Justice Department officials say privately that they believe the high-profile nature of the case and the potential for political blowback if Berman were removed may help secure his position.
The case against the Giuliani associates—in which four men are charged with allegedly funneling foreign money into US elections—and its political implications, given that two of the men are central to the impeachment inquiry in the House, has put a spotlight on Berman.
More on Berman’s background: Berman, who is overseeing the case, has led the office since January 2018, and his initial appointment was met with some public and private concerns among the office’s prosecutors and others about his previous associations with Trump.
Berman had held a position on Trump’s transition team, he was a law partner of Giuliani and Trump had personally interviewed him for the US attorney post, all of which worried members of the office who prize its reputation for independence, according to people familiar with the matter.
Berman and Giuliani never worked on a case together at their former firm, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, according to a person familiar with Berman’s time at the firm, and had little involvement with one another.