July 9, 2020 / 5:47 PM / a month ago

Ousted U.S. prosecutor says Barr urged him to resign -reports

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) - Geoffrey Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was ousted from his job last month, was expected to tell lawmakers on Thursday that U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr urged him to resign, according to media reports citing a copy of his prepared remarks.

Berman, who left as his office continued a probe into President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani, was warned by Barr that if he did not leave and was fired, it would “not be good for my resume or future job prospects,” CNN said, citing his statement.

Barr also repeatedly urged him to take another job in the department running its civil division or possibly elsewhere in the administration, Axios reported.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

Berman was scheduled to meet behind closed doors with the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee following his June 20 firing. He initially refused to step down and vowed to continue the Southern District of New York’s investigations. Barr later had Trump fire him.

Barr was scheduled to appear before the panel on July 28.

Democrats have accused Barr of improperly meddling in a number of criminal and antitrust investigations in order to protect Trump and his allies. Barr has defended his actions in several media interviews.

Last month, career prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky told lawmakers on the panel 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.

Separately on Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department said Stone should report to prison next week, which would pave the way for a possible presidential pardon after Stone was found guilty of obstruction as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by David Gregorio

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