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The Book of the Week is “Holding the Line, Inside the Nation’s Preeminent US Attorney’s Office and Its Battle With the Trump Justice Department” by Geoffrey Berman, published in 2022.
In January 2018, the author was appointed chief prosecutor at the (federal) Attorney General’s office in the Southern District of the city of New York (SDNY). He wrote about the various legal cases on which his office worked, that were subjected to unprecedented, inappropriate and outrageous meddling from president Donald Trump’s sycophants at the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the book (which appeared to be credible although it lacked Notes, Sources, References, or Bibliography), an entity named “Main Justice” was the intermediary gatekeeper that determined how much power over cases SDNY had when there was a dispute between SDNY and the Department of Justice.
In February 2019, Bill Barr became the ultimate authority on how federal law enforcement officers prosecuted certain kinds of crimes: he became U.S. Attorney General (which also made him head of the U.S. Department of Justice). He pulled the strings of Main Justice. There was ample evidence he was acting in such an extremely unjust manner because he was playing partisan politics. The American court system is supposed to be nonpartisan– favoring neither Republicans nor Democrats.
Barr broke a taboo against using his power for the purpose of political retaliation on behalf of his boss, the president of the United States. Countless taxpayer dollars were wasted on Barr’s shenanigans in trying to pressure the author and his fellow prosecutors to sign their names on legal documents that prevented president Trump from being investigated for anything and everything criminal.
Anyway, in one case, Main Justice failed to inform SDNY in a timely manner that it couldn’t submit “smoking gun” emails as evidence relating to a proposed question about citizenship on the 2020 U.S. Census. SDNY had never encountered such unfair treatment before.
In another case, Barr, the bully, through Main Justice, tried to reverse additional charges of campaign finance violations against Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, who had already been convicted of crimes. However, as the author related, sometimes, dishonor among thieves prompts curious things to happen, as in the Halkbank case.
The author also pointed out how ridiculous Barr appeared when he pressured the author to become head of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, but then asked him whether he had any experience in civil litigation.
Read the book to learn about various other cases– on most of which hours and hours of work done by the author and his fellow prosecutors turned out to be wasted, due to Barr’s unethical demands– including those involving: Jeffrey Epstein, John Kerry, NYCHA, New York City gang leaders, a drug company CEO, art theft, and many more; plus the author’s recommendations on how to make the Attorney General’s office work better in the name of justice.