Geoffrey Steven Berman (born September 12, 1959) is an American lawyer serving as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York since 2018. He previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1990 to 1994. In January 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Berman's appointment as interim U.S. Attorney for a statutory period of 120 days. On April 25, 2018, the judges of the Southern District of New York, pursuant to the statute, unanimously appointed Berman U.S. Attorney for an indefinite period. Berman joins a long line of notable persons who have been U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, including Henry L. Stimson, Thomas E. Dewey, Robert M. Morgenthau, Robert Fiske, Rudy Giuliani, Mary Jo White, James Comey and Preet Bharara.
Berman, a native of Trenton, New Jersey, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Science in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1981. He then studied Law at Stanford University where he obtained a Juris Doctor degree in 1984. During his studies, he was the Note Editor of the Stanford Law Review. Berman began his career as a law clerk for Judge Leonard I. Garth in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He served for three years as an associate to independent counsel Lawrence Walsh during investigation into the Iran–Contra affair 1987–1990. There, he was part of a team that was able to prosecute former CIA employee, Thomas Cliness, on tax fraud charges. Berman later served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1990 to 1994. Berman worked on several complex tax and fraud cases as a prosecutor, including the Masters of Deception computer hacking case. As a result of Berman’s prosecution of that case, his effigy was stabbed on the front cover of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, a computer hacking magazine.
Berman was subsequently engaged by Mudge Rose and Latham & Watkins, where he worked as a monitor to rid the New York Carpenter’s Union of mob control. From 1994 to 1997, Berman represented pro bono Maureen and Richard Kanka, defending the constitutionality of Megan’s Law in state and federal litigation. He married Joanne Karen Schwartz August 20, 1994. Berman is currently a resident of New York, where he previously lived from 1984 to 2002. He then moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where he lived for 14 years. Berman was a partner of Rudy Giuliani at Greenberg Traurig. It was reported that Giuliani supported Berman for U.S. Attorney in New Jersey, but that Giuliani supported a different candidate for U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Berman represented Philip Kwon, the deputy general counsel at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey during the Bridgegate trial. Berman denied that his client was ever told the lane closures were intended to punish anyone.
Upon President Donald Trump's firing Preet Bharara as U.S. Attorney, Trump reportedly interviewed Berman among other candidates for the position. Berman had performed some part-time volunteer work for the Trump transition. On January 3, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Berman's appointment as U.S. Attorney, along with sixteen other former prosecutors, to serve in various offices around the country on an interim basis until the Senate can permanently confirm them. The Trump Administration never nominated Berman or most of the other interim appointments. On April 25, 2018, the Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York entered an order formally on behalf of a unanimous court appointing Berman United States Attorney pursuant to its authority under 28 U.S.C Section 546(d). Berman has the appointment indefinitely until someone is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
In August 2018, U.S. Representative Chris Collins and his son Cameron were arrested by the FBI and charged with insider trading and making false statements by Berman. Following the charges, House Speaker Paul Ryan kicked Collins off of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Collins suspended his reelection campaign. In April 2018, the office of Berman issued a search warrant of the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen, former lawyer of Donald Trump, for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Since Berman is recused by the U.S. Attorney General's Office from the investigation, he was apparently not involved in the decision to raid Cohen's office. That search was presumably conducted under the authority of Robert Khuzami, Berman’s top deputy. In August 2018, Berman charged Republican U.S. Representative Chris Collins, his son Cameron, and the father of Cameron’s fiancée, Stephen Zarsky with insider trading and lying to the FBI.