Manhattan federal prosecutor Bharara fired after refusing to resign

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U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara speaks during a news conference in New York. The outspoken Manhattan federal prosecutor known for crusading against public corruption said on Saturday, March 11, 2017, that he was fired after refusing to resign. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

An outspoken Manhattan federal prosecutor known for crusading against public corruption says he was fired after refusing to resign.

Preet Bharara announced in a tweet Saturday afternoon that he was fired.

He said: “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired.” He went on to say in the tweet that being the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York will “forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seeking the resignations of 46 United States attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration, the Justice Department said Friday.

Many of the federal prosecutors who were nominated by former President Barack Obama have already left their positions, but the nearly four dozen who stayed on in the first weeks of the Trump administration have been asked to leave “in order to ensure a uniform transition,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

“Until the new U.S. attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. attorney’s offices will continue the great work of the department in investigating, prosecuting and deterring the most violent offenders,” she said in a statement.

By Friday evening, U.S. attorneys around the country — including in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Arkansas — had publicly announced their resignations.

The 48-year-old Bharara was asked by then-President-elect President Donald Trump to remain as U.S. attorney in Manhattan during a November meeting at Trump Tower.

Bharara was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2009. In frequent public appearances, Bharara has decried public corruption after successfully prosecuting over a dozen state lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike.

Story by The Associated Press