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

James Comey

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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