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U.S. Attorney General's Visit To U.S. Attorney’s Office, SDNY Prepared Remarks Of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara


United States

Good afternoon. I want to thank the Attorney General for his ongoing support of our work here in New York; his support of our efforts in the important and consequential terrorism trial that concluded last week, but also our other important cases, including the deferred prosecution and settlement against Toyota, the guilty verdicts against five former Madoff investment firm employees, the 2nd Circuit’s upholding of the insider trading conviction of Rajat Gupta, and civil rights charges announced last week against a Rikers Island corrections officer in the death of an inmate.

These are all important cases, and the Attorney General has been supportive of all of our efforts, but particularly so in the prosecution of international terrorists, who have threatened Americans and American interests around the globe, who have targeted not only this country but this very city.

But I know the Attorney General recognizes, as I do, that the most important work of this Office is performed – as it is in all of the US Attorneys’ Office around the country – by the dedicated career prosecutors who work tirelessly on behalf of their only client, the United States, to achieve justice. That is why the Attorney General is here today. A short while ago he met with the trial team in the prosecution of Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, not just to congratulate them on the outcome, but to express his appreciation for all of the work that preceded it.

Abu Ghayth arrived in the United States to face American justice on March 1, 2013, and in barely over a year he has been tried and convicted, and faces a possible life sentence. A jury unanimously found that Sulaiman Abu Ghayth not only conspired to provide, and actually provided, material support to al Qaeda, but also conspired to kill Americans. Within hours after the devastating 9/11 attacks, Abu Ghayth was using his position in al Qaeda to persuade others to pledge themselves to the cause of murdering more Americans.

Like the others who have faced terrorism charges in Manhattan’s federal courthouse before him, Abu Ghayth received a fair trial, after which a unanimous jury rendered its verdict, justly holding him accountable for his crimes. We hope this verdict brings some small measure of comfort to the families of the victims of al Qaeda’s murderous designs.

What has been demonstrated over the years is that the track record of this Office in terrorism cases is one marked by professionalism and success, and that record speaks for itself. Every time this Office is called upon to prosecute an accused terrorist, we stand at the ready to do what is needed to obtain justice and protect the interests of the United States, as we do in all of our prosecutions.

It is worth noting that Sulaiman Abu Ghayth is only the most recent of the scores of accused terrorists since 9/11 for whom the span between arrest and conviction in this District was relatively short. Those results are due in no small measure to the fact that we try these cases in the court with the most terrorism trial experience, and we work with the most experienced JTTF, which includes the best FBI office and the best police department.

Many of these successes, and the work of the career prosecutors who achieved them, preceded my tenure as US Attorney. And it is work that will continue after I have moved on.

Now I am pleased and honored to welcome the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder.

Updated May 13, 2015