July 2, 2020 / 8:41 PM / a month ago

Ousted U.S. prosecutor Berman to appear for closed-door congressional interview

FILE PHOTO: Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York speaks about the guilty plea of Chris Collins, former U.S. Representative for New York's 27th congressional district, after a hearing at Federal Court in New York City, New York, U.S., October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Geoffrey Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was ousted from his job last month amid an investigation by his office into President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani, will appear for a closed-door interview before congressional committee next week, a congressional aide said on Thursday.

The interview in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is set for 12 noon ET on July 9, the aide told Reuters, speaking anonymously because all of the details and the format of the interview are not yet public.

Berman stepped down from his post on June 20 after Attorney General William Barr had him fired by Trump.

Berman initially refused to step aside and vowed to continue his office’s investigations. He relented, however, after Barr pledged to let Berman’s hand-picked deputy Audrey Strauss fill in as Acting U.S. Attorney until a permanent replacement could be installed.

The interview with Berman comes as the Democratically-led House Judiciary Committee has launched an inquiry into Barr, whom critics have accused of improperly meddling in criminal cases in ways that benefit Trump personally.

Last week, career prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky testified before the same panel, telling lawmakers that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia faced political pressure to scale back its sentencing recommendation for Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell

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