Trump mum if he will keep Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers in office

By LOUIS FLORES

The office of U.S. Attorney Robert Capers keeps bringing large prosecution cases, but it is not known if the U.S. Attorney's Office he heads will continue under his leadership. The media office for President-elect Donald Trump's transition team did not answer a request for information about President-elect Trump's plans for U.S. Attorney Capers. Senior posts within the U.S. Department of Justice are subject to appointment by U.S. Presidents, and changes in the presidency trigger changes in leadership within the DOJ.

President-elect Donald Trump, appearing in 2015 at a town hall event at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH. President-elect Trump has not announced his plans for the leadership of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, now headed by U.S. Attorney Robert Capers. Source : Michael Vadon/Flickr (CC 2.0 Generic)

President-elect Donald Trump, appearing in 2015 at a town hall event at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH. President-elect Trump has not announced his plans for the leadership of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, now headed by U.S. Attorney Robert Capers. Source : Michael Vadon/Flickr (CC 2.0 Generic)

As the top Federal prosecutor of the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's eastern district, U.S. Attorney Capers has been bringing large and complex prosecution cases. Typically, the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's southern district, which is located in Manhattan, overshadows the work done by its peer office in the eastern district, which is located in Brooklyn. The U.S. Attorney for the southern district is Preet Bharara, whose prosecution of cases against financial, political, and campaign corruption have won him accolades from Government reform activists. Without the matching fanfare, though, U.S. Attorney Capers has been steadily bringing cases that some Government reform activists view as being on par with U.S. Attorney Bharara.

Despite the impact U.S. Attorney Capers has been having, it is not known what immediate plans he has for himself, given the potential for leadership change in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn under a Trump presidency. The press office of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn declined to answer a request made last week by Progress Queens for information about U.S. Attorney Capers' future plans. The uncertainty surrounding the future of U.S. Attorney Capers contrasts with reports about the future of U.S. Attorney Bharara. Last month, it was reported that President-elect Trump asked U.S. Attorney Bharara to continue in his post.

Capers on par with Bharara

On Monday, U.S. Attorney Capers released an indictment timed to coïncide with the arrests of several individuals employed by or connected to the hedge fund management company, Platinum Management (NY) LLC, pressing charges of securities laws violations in what prosecutors alleged was a $1 billion fraud on investors. The case was described by The Wall Street Journal as the largest alleged act of fraud since the prosecution of Bernard Madoff.

Within the last year, the prosecutors reporting to U.S. Attorney Capers have also brought prosecution cases against James Burke, the former police chief of Nassau County, and Edward Mangano, the former executive of Nassau County. The eastern district cases against prominent Long Island officials have been viewed by some as similar to the types of corruption cases that have been brought by the southern district against prominent Government officials.

At the same time when the anti-corruption work of U.S. Attorney Capers has been described to be matching that of the work done by U.S. Attorney Bharara, both top Federal prosecutors have a mixed record in legal areas of Government transparency and civil rights. Both U.S. Attorney Capers and U.S. Attorney Bharara have been the targets of demands, thus far unanswered, to improve Government transparency by making the Government comply with the Freedom of Information Act. Separately, advocates for police reform have demanded, without success, that the civil rights units within their respective offices file charges against officers of the New York Police Department for officer-involved homicides against unarmed civilians. Progress Queens has reported that, despite claims of autonomy to the contrary, the U.S. Attorneys' Offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan face a lot of pressure from senior DOJ officials, in particular from U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

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