For 7 1/2 years, Bharara relentlessly went after white collar criminals on Wall Street. He did it with so much determination he earned the nickname Sheriff of Wall Street. He wasn’t ready to give up the position he loved so much even with a new president in office.
He made sure the world knew that he didn’t leave willingly and was fired by the commander in chief.
Now months later, he can joke about it and is ready to reveal details of what exactly happened.
Bharara spoke in July at the South Asian Bar Association’s annual convention where he received the group’s Cornerstone Award. A video of the speech was recently re-released by Diya TV. His message is really a good one to hear as we near the end of another year.
Bharara made it clear he wasn’t looking for sympathy. In fact he’s done quite well for himself. He’s now a distinguished scholar at New York University.
He signed a deal with Knopf to write a book about justice for what he described as “a decent amount of coin.”
He’s also the executive vice president of Sun Spider Studios, a media start up launched by his brother.
And oh, yeah. He’s still egged on by his father to do better, joking his dad still wants him to take the MCAT.
“What you do is not really as important as how you do what you do,” he told hundreds gathered at a gala. “A court victory is great. but if you don’t do it the right way and you don’t do it with integrity, I don’t think it means much.”
He admits he didn’t return the president’s call and that he refused to resign.
“The president called on Thursday March 9, I didn’t return the call. 22 hours later, I was asked for my resignation by the acting deputy attorney general and when I got the call, you know everyone was asked to submit letters of resignation, and I said and I wasn’t trying to be defiant, then, (laughter) I said are you sure about that because I did this whole thing with Trump at the tower, Jarred Kushner was there, President Bannon was there, (laughter) so I thought I was cool with Trump. So maybe he didn’t get the memo, like I’m good, you’re talking about the other fools, who got to go. Literally the answer came back, I’ll check. This is all true by the way. I didn’t want to sort of resign from the job I love accidentally.”
Reality is sometimes hard to accept and Bharara admits knowing the end was coming.
“I became increasingly emotional, upset and sad because I didn’t want to leave the job I loved so much, but the reason I was upset was I didn’t want to leave the people who I loved so much. In particular I was worried I wouldn’t understand I was actually being fired until later that evening or the next day. I was becoming increasingly emotional …wasn’t going to have the opportunity to say goodbye to all these people who I cared about and worked with.”
Now that he’s gone, he has this message to anyone who will listen.
“My feelings were a measure of my work, but the people. There have been better, smarter and whiter US attorneys who have been more accomplished, but no one, there was never anyone in that place who loved it more than I do.
“Find a way to do what you love. Do it with people you love and do it with love. That’s the best way to live a professional life. I got to do that longer that I had any right-kid from Jersey, born in Punjab, dad who came from nothing. That’s why I have no remorse, regret or bitterness.
“This is a time for service unlike any we’ve seen in a long while. This is a profoundly important time. This is a time when the law matters, lawyers matter,lawyers of color matter more than time I can think of in recent memory.
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