attorney general hires former federal prosecutor while pursuing Trump
By Karen Freifeld and David Shepardson
NEW YORK / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has been investigating US President Donald Trump’s investments and other issues related to the Trump administration, said Monday that he has hired two attorneys with experience in the federal government.
In a memo to his staff Monday, Schneiderman said he had hired former federal prosecutor Howard Master as chief legal counsel. Master was previously deputy chief of the criminal division of the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan. He left the United States attorney’s office on March 8.
Additionally, Eric Haren, senior counsel for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will join the office as special counsel and senior counsel on Monday, according to the memo. Feinstein is the highest ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Master will direct “complex affirmative investigations and litigation, as well as advise on important investigations and prosecutions in the criminal division,” Schneiderman wrote. A person familiar with the matter said it includes matters related to the Trump administration.
Under the direction of US Attorney Preet Bharara, Master prosecuted public integrity cases, including the case against former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, on corruption charges. Bharara was fired by Trump earlier this month.
Haren has a background in civil rights, constitutional law, data privacy, security and criminal law, the Schneiderman memo said. He will bring experience in federal law and the inner workings of Congress and federal agencies, according to the memo.
Master did not return a call for comment and Haren could not be reached. A White House spokeswoman had no immediate comment on Monday.
Schneiderman told reporters in Washington last month that his office was investigating Trump’s business investments.
“As a general matter, it is not sustainable for him to refuse to dispose of all these vast properties and to refuse to reveal what those properties are,” the attorney general said.
“It’s so far off the limits of anything anyone has ever tried that people have trouble coming up with a clear legal strategy to address it,” Schneiderman said. Schneiderman also joined the lawsuits against Trump’s travel ban, which temporarily bans entry. people from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees in the United States.
In addition, he has been investigating Trump’s charitable foundation, which came under increased scrutiny following the Washington Post reports of possible wrongdoing. In November, the foundation filed forms saying it violated the so-called auto-commerce ban.
In 2013, Schneiderman filed a fraud case against Trump for “Trump University,” a series of real estate seminars. Trump agreed to settle that case in November.
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