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Trump nominates SEC Chairman Jay Clayton to replace Geoffrey Berman as US attorney in New York

Paul Best

President Trump nominated the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, to replace Geoffrey Berman as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, late Friday night in what appears to be political shakeup.

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“For the past three years, Jay has been an extraordinarily successful SEC Chairman, overseeing efforts to modernize regulation of the capital markets, protect Main Street investors, enhance American competitiveness, and address challenges ranging from cybersecurity issues to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.

Inquiries by FOX Business to the SEC were not immediately returned.

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Shortly after the announcement by the Department of Justice, ABC News reported via Twitter that Berman was fired after declining other positions within the department.

Berman, who logged two-and-a-half years on the job, followed up with his own statement, disclosing that he learned of his fate via the same press release everyone else got clarifying "I have not resigned, I have no intention of resigning..." but noted he will step aside once his replacement is confirmed.

Berman caught the ire of the White House as his office is reportedly investigating Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a campaign finance case that has led to charges against two of former New York mayor's associates,  Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

Berman took the job in January 2018 after his predecessor, Preet Bharara, was fired by Trump. Bharara has been critical of the president since leaving the role.

“With tenacity and savvy, Geoff has done an excellent job leading one of our nation’s most significant U.S. Attorney’s Offices, achieving many successes on consequential civil and criminal matters,” Barr said about Berman.

Craig Carpenito, currently the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, will serve as the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York starting July 3rd as the Senate considers Clayton’s nomination.

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Other notable former Manhattan U.S. attorneys include Giuliani, Mary Jo White, who was the first and only woman to be the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and went on to become SEC Chair, former Director of the FBI James Comey, and Robert Morgenthau, who became the District Attorney of Manhattan and was the longest-serving district attorney in the history of the State of New York.

The United States Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York is considered one of the most powerful and colorful.

The Showtime series 'Billions' stars actor Paul Giamatti who plays the character Chuck Rhoades, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

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