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Brillstein Boss Among Former U.S. Attorneys Seeking Special Counsel In Russia Probe

Deadline logo Deadline 5/13/2017 Lisa de Moraes
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A group of 180 former U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York have sent a bipartisan letter to Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein asking that the Department Of Justice appoint a special counsel “to oversee the FBI’s continuing investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election and related matters.”

The signees include Jon Liebman, the chairman and CEO of Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

The letter, dated Friday, comes after President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired FBI Director Jim Comey. Comey was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York serving under among others then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani. Comey was later appointed U.S. Attorney in New York and served in that capacity until he was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General in 2003.

“It was reckless for the President to fire Director Comey,” Liebman told Deadline. “This isn’t about ‘loyalty.’ Prosecutors and investigators should not be pressured by politicians. At this point, only a special counsel can conduct an investigation that people will accept as impartial.”

Also signing to the letter is as Richard Ben-Veniste, a special prosecutor during the Watergate scandal who later served as a member of the commission that investigated the September 11 terrorist attacks; and Benito Romano, the SDNY Interim U.S. Attorney during President George H.W. Bush’s administration who worked with Comey.

The group sent the letter to Rosenstein and not his boss Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the Russia probe. Rosenstein wrote a key memo criticizing Comey’s conduct that was used as justification to fire Comey on Tuesday.

In addition to his Brillstein post, Liebman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Policy and was executive producer of HBO’s documentary In Memoriam: New York City 9/11/01.

Read the letter here or see it below:

May 12, 2017

Rod J. Rosenstein, Esq.

Deputy Attorney General of the United States

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Deputy Attorney General:

We, the undersigned, are former United States Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys for the Southern District of New York. In view of the recent termination of James Comey as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we are writing to request that you appoint a special counsel to oversee the FBI’s continuing investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election and related matters. This letter is addressed to you rather than the Attorney General since he has recused himself from this matter.

As you know, Jim has had a long and distinguished career with the Department of Justice, beginning with his appointment as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York serving under United States Attorneys Rudolph Giuliani, Benito Romano and Otto Obermaier from 1987 through 1993. He returned to the Southern District of New York in 2002 when he was appointed the United States Attorney and served in that capacity until he was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General in 2003. Most of us came to know Jim when he worked in the Southern District of New York. Many of us know him personally. All of us respect him as a highly professional and ethical person who has devoted more than 20 years of his life to public service.

While we do not all necessarily agree with the manner in which he dealt with the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, we sincerely believe that his abrupt and belated termination for this conduct, occurring months later and on the heels of his public testimony about his oversight of the investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, has the appearance – if not the reality – of interfering with that investigation. Even if this investigation continues unabated, there is a substantial risk that the American people will not have confidence in its results, no matter who is appointed to succeed him, given that the Director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the President. We believe it is critical in the present political climate and clearly in the public’s interest that this investigation be directed by a truly independent, non-partisan prosecutor who is independent of the Department of Justice, as is contemplated by 28 C.F.R. §600.1.

We are Republicans, Democrats and independents. Most importantly, we are proud alumni and alumnae of the Department of Justice. We do not suggest that you or any other members of the Department of Justice or a newly appointed Director of the FBI would not conduct yourselves properly, but the gravity of this investigation requires that even the appearance of political involvement in this investigation be avoided. As former prosecutors, we believe the only solution in the present circumstances would be to appoint a Special Counsel pursuant to 28 C.F.R. §600.1, and we urge you to take that course.

Respectfully submitted,

Jonathan S. Abernethy

Elkan Abramowitz

Richard F. Albert

Marcus A. Asner

Martin J. Auerbach

Miriam Baer

Thomas H. Baer

Kerri Martin Bartlett

Maria Barton

Andrew Bauer

Bernard W. Bell

Richard Ben-Veniste

Neil S. Binder

Laura Gossfield Birger

Ira H. Block

Suzanne Jaffe Bloom

Barry A. Bohrer

Daniel H. Bookin

Jane E. Booth

Katharine Bostick

Laurie E. Brecher

David M. Brodsky

Stacey Mortiz Brodsky

William Bronner

Jennifer K. Brown

Marshall A. Camp

Bennett Capers

Michael Q. Carey

Neil S. Cartusciello

Sarah Chapman

Robert J. Cleary

Brian D. Coad

Glenn C. Colton

William Craco

Nelson W. Cunningham

Constance Cushman

Frederick T. Davis

John M. Desmarais

Rhea Dignam

Gregory L. Diskant

Philip L. Douglas

Sean Eskovitz

Jesse T. Fardella

Meir Feder

Ira M. Feinberg

Michael S. Feldberg

Steven D. Feldman

Edward T. Ferguson

David Finn

Eric P. Fisher

Sharon E. Frase

Steven I. Froot

Maria T. Galeno

Catherine Gallo

Robert Garcia

Kay K. Gardiner

Ronald L. Garnett

Scott Gilbert

Barbara S. Gillers

Mark Godsey

Joshua A. Goldberg

James A. Goldston

Mark P. Goodman

George I. Gordon

Sheila Gowan

Stuart GraBois

Paul R. Grand

Helen Gredd

Bruce Green

Marc L. Greenwald

Jamie Gregg

James G. Greilsheimer

Jane Bloom Grise

Nicole Gueron

Barbara Guss

Steven M. Haber

Jonathan Halpern

David Hammer

Jeffrey Harris

Mark D. Harris

Roger J. Hawke

Steven P. Heineman

Mark R. Hellerer

William Hibsher

Jay Holtmeier

John R. Horan

Patricia M. Hynes

Linda Imes

Douglas Jensen

James Kainen

Eugene Kaplan

Steven M. Kaplan

William C. Komaroff

David Koenigsberg

Cynthia Kouril

Mary Ellen Kris

Stephen Kurzman

Nicole LaBarbera

Kerry Lawrence

Sherry Leiwant

Jane A. Levine

Annmarie Levins

Raymond A. Levites

Donna H. Lieberman

Jon Liebman

Sarah E. Light

Jon Lindsey

Robin A. Linsenmayer

Edward J.M. Little

Mary Shannon Little

Walter Loughlin

Daniel Margolis

Walter Mack

Kathy S. Marks

Mark E. Matthews

Marvin S. Mayell

Sharon L. McCarthy

James J. McGuire

Joan McPhee

Christine Meding

Paul K. Milmed

Judith L. Mogul

David E. Montgomery

Lynn Neils

Peter Neiman

Rosemary Nidiry

Tai H. Park

Robert M. Pennoyer

Elliott R. Peters

Michael Pinnisi

Robert Plotz

Henry Putzel

T. Gorman Reilly

Emily Reisbaum

Peter Rient

Roland G. Riopelle

Michael A. Rogoff

Benito Romano

Amy Rothstein

Thomas C. Rubin

Daniel S. Ruzumna

Robert W. Sadowski

Elliot G. Sagor

Peter Salerno

Joseph F. Savage

John F. Savarese

Edward Scarvalone

Kenneth I. Schacter

Frederick Schaffer

Gideon A. Schor

Julian Schreibman

Wendy Schwartz

Linda Severin

David Siegal

Marjorie A. Silver

Paul H. Silverman

Charles Simon

Carolyn L. Simpson

David Sipiora

Dietrich L. Snell

Peter Sobol

Ira Lee Sorkin

David W. Spears

Katherine Stanton

Franklin H. Stone

Richard M. Strassberg

Howard S. Sussman

Erika Thomas

Richard Toder

Timothy J. Treanor

Paula Tuffin

Peter Vigeland

David Wales

Max Wild

Samuel J. Wilson

Elaine Wood

Paulette Wunsch

Thomas Zaccaro

Ellen Zimiles

cc: Jefferson B. Sessions III, Esq.

Attorney General of the United States

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