From India to Capitol Hill to Top Prosecuting Job
By Stephanie Woodrow | August 10, 2022 10:38 am
Preet Bharara (North American South Asian Bar Association )

Preet Bharara

The New York Times’s Benjamin Weiser had a nice profile Sunday of newly-confirmed Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Read the article here.

Bharara, 40, will take over what is widely considered the most prestigious federal prosecuting job outside of Washington. A former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan under U.S. Attorneys Mary Jo White and James Comey, his mandate includes cleaning up Wall Street fraud. 

Preetinder S. Bharara was born in Ferozepur, India, and immigrated to the United States as a infant, the Times reported. His background is multicultural: His father is a Sikh, his mother was Hindu, and both parents fled their home after the upheavals that led to the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947. His Muslim father-in-law moved from India into Pakistan. His wife’s grandfather, a Jew, fled to Palestine from Nazi Germany. 

“Four different families, practicing four different faiths — all compelled to flee a half century ago because of their religion,” Bharara, a naturalized U.S. citizen, said in a speech to the South Asian Bar Association of New York in 2007, the Times reported. 

The Harvard and Columbia Law grad became chief counsel to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in 2005 - the move that launched him to his current heights. In the Senate, Bharara helped run the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into the Bush administration’s politicized firing of six U.S. Attorneys. His background as a non-partisan prosecutor in New York helped him persuade a reluctant David Iglesias of New Mexico to testify, the Times reported. Iglesias, a Bush appointee, was fired after Republican officials in New Mexico complained he didn’t pursue a voting fraud case against Democrats.

Bharara’s college friend, former George W. Bush administration Assistant Attorney General Viet D. Dinh, told the Times that while he disagrees philosophically with the new SDNY U.S. Attorney, “ I can’t imagine two other people trusting each other implicitly the way Preet and I do.”

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