Geoffrey Berman, the powerful US attorney for the Southern District of New York has been the lead investigator into the Jeffrey Epstein child sex trafficking case since before the billionaire's suspicious suicide. However, this friend of President Donald Trump who contributed to his campaign, was surreptitiously removed from his post by Attorney General William Barr — who falsely claimed Berman "resigned."
Now, the lawyer for several of Epstein's victims, Spencer Kuvin, is speaking out about the "highly suspect" removal of the top attorney. He is speculating that Trump or one of his staff may have asked Berman to stop investigating Prince Andrew over his ties to the billionaire pedophile and then fired him when he refused.
As the Guardian points out, Berman and the Duke of York have become embroiled in a series of public rows over what the US prosecutor alleges is his refusal to answer questions in their investigation into allegations of sex trafficking and other crimes against Epstein.
This has put a target on Berman's back by the ones who continue to protect those involved in the elite child trafficking scandal.
In a scathing interview, Kuvin told The Sun Berman's firing was a massive step backward in the progress they've made for obtaining justice for the victims.
"The timing of this is highly suspect for an internal favor having been requested by the President," Kuvin told The Sun.
"Because we know that the investigation and requests for repeated interviews with Prince Andrew ramped up in just the past month.
"And now all of a sudden the one man that's been pushing for those requests has been fired for no reason.
"We know that U.S. Attorney Berman was heavily investigating and pushing the investigation into the Epstein cases which included repeated requests to interview Prince Andrew.
"We know that Prince Andrew lied when he said that he had been cooperative because U.S. Attorney Berman came out and said that he was lying and that he had not contacted them and did not want to be part of that interview.
"We also know that President Trump has a very close relationship with the British Prime Minister and there have been requests that have been made in the past by our president to back off international prosecutions.
"So it does not defy logic."
Adding to the highly suspect nature of Berman's firing is the circumstances under which it happened. Late last Friday night, as he thought no one was paying attention, Attorney General William Barr announced that Berman had resigned. However, that was news to Berman who quickly fired back saying he was doing no such thing.
"I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York," Berman — whose office charged Jeffrey Epstein with child sex trafficking last year — said. "I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption."
After Berman refused to resign, he was then forced out.
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"Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service," Barr said in a letter to Berman Saturday. "Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so."
In the week since the Trump administration ousted this highly respected and successful attorney who was doing an outstanding job, neither Trump nor Barr have provided an explanation, or even a plausible cover story. Trump also claimed he had nothing to do with the firing.
"Attorney General Barr is working on that. That's his department, not my department," Trump told reporters as he was leaving the White House for a campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. "But we have a very capable attorney general. So that's really up to him. I'm not involved."
The above statement turned out to be admittedly false as his own press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany later said he "was involved in a sign-off capacity."
"Doesn't sound like 'stepping down,'' Preet Bharara, the previous permanent U.S. attorney in New York, said in a tweet Friday. "Why does a president get rid of his own hand-picked US Attorney in SDNY on a Friday night, less than 5 months before the election?"
To be clear, Berman is a Republican who contributed to the president´s election campaign, worked for the same law firm as the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and was put in his job by Trump.
However, there were other motives by the Trump admin for Berman's removal as well. On top of the Epstein investigation, he was prosecuting some of Trump's allies which has likely angered the president.
"This is clearly a political takeover of the historically independent Southern District of New York," Elie Honig, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the district, said in an interview with NPR's Weekend Edition before Berman's formal firing.
"When you look at the timing of this — the fact that it was announced late on a Friday night, the fact that the attorney general immediately was caught in a misleading statement when he said the U.S. attorney is stepping down ... and you look at all the important pending cases in the SDNY right now, the only logical conclusion to me is that this is a political move."
Undoubtedly, and with these accusations from Epstein victims' lawyer, it looks like a historically ominous political move.
As TFTP has reported, Epstein is a convicted child molester and sexually abused no less than 40 underage girls. Despite this fact, former U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta did the opposite of Berman and protected him while serving as a U.S. Attorney in Florida.
Instead of going to prison for life, as he should've considering the evidence against him, Epstein only got 13 months and was allowed to stay in the Palm Beach County Jail in his own private cell where he was allowed to leave the prison six days a week for "work release."
Instead of being investigated for letting this convicted pedophile off with a wrist slap, Acosta was appointed by Trump to Secretary of Labor. Acosta would later resign once the mainstream media actually reported on his ties to Epstein — a detail TFTP had reported for years.
Berman's firing — though we cannot prove was directly related to the Epstein investigation — will undoubtedly hinder the investigation's progress. Regardless of the motive behind Berman's removal, the damage to public trust and lack of transparency will allow society's worst to continue to enjoy cover in the darkness.
"My clients see this as yet another attempt by the system to deny them justice with respect to the co-conspirators involved in their abuse," Kuvin said.