United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

U.S. Attorney's Office for the
Southern District of New York
Seal of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.png
Department overview
FormedSeptember 24, 1789 (1789-09-24) by the Judiciary Act of 1789
JurisdictionSouthern District of New York
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, U.S.
Department executives
Parent DepartmentUnited States Department of Justice
Southern District of New York

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY, or S.D.N.Y.) is the chief federal law enforcement officer in eight New York counties: New York (Manhattan), Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess and Sullivan. Founded by President George Washington through the Judiciary Act of 1789, the office represents the United States government in criminal and civil cases across the country. The SDNY handles a broad array of cases, including but not limited to those involving white collar crime, domestic terrorism, cyber crime, public corruption, organized crime, and civil rights disputes.

The Southern District is known for being highly independent and nonpartisan, earning itself the moniker the "Sovereign District of New York."[1][2] Its resources, culture, and accompanying FBI field office have given the SDNY a reputation for being exceptionally aggressive in their pursuit of criminals.[3][4] Due to its jurisdiction over Manhattan, a financial center of the United States of America, the office’s incumbent is known to be the “Sheriff of Wall Street”.[5]

Starting June 2020, Deputy Audrey Strauss served as Acting U.S. Attorney, with her term set to expire in mid-January 2021. On December 22, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 546(d), appointed Strauss as U.S. Attorney for an indeterminate term.[6][7][8][9]


The Office is organized into two divisions handling civil and criminal matters. The Southern District of New York also has two offices: first in Manhattan, and second in White Plains. The Office employs approximately 220 Assistant U.S. Attorneys.[10]

List of U.S. Attorneys[edit]

In 1814, the District of New York was divided into the Northern and the Southern District.[11]

Term U.S. Attorney Party Appointed by
1 April 1815

July 1819
Jonathan Fisk.jpg Jonathan Fisk Democratic-Republican James Madison
2 July 1819

February 1828
3x4.svg Robert L. Tillotson Democratic-Republican James Monroe
3 February 1828

April 1829

John Duer (1782-1858).jpg John Duer [data unknown/missing] John Quincy Adams
4 April 1829

April 1834

3x4.svg James A. Hamilton [data unknown/missing] Andrew Jackson
5 April 1834

December 10, 1838

3x4.svg William M. Price [data unknown/missing]
6 December 1838

March 1841

Benjamin Franklin Butler (U.S. Attorney General).jpg Benjamin F. Butler Democratic Martin Van Buren
7 March 1841

March 1845

OgdenHoffman.jpg Ogden Hoffman Whig William Henry Harrison
8 March 1845

September 1848

Benjamin Franklin Butler (U.S. Attorney General).jpg Benjamin F. Butler Democratic James Polk
9 September 1848

December 1848

3x4.svg Charles McVean Democratic
10 January 1849

April 1849
Lorenzo Brigham Shepard.png Lorenzo B. Shepard [data unknown/missing]
11 April 1849

March 1853
Jonathan Prescott Hall [data unknown/missing] Zachary Taylor
12 April 1853

June 1854
Charles OConor - Brady-Handy.jpg Charles O'Conor Democratic Franklin Pierce
13 July 1854

January 1858
John McKeon (New York).jpg John McKeon Democratic
14 January 1858

December 1859
Theodore Sedgwick (1811-1859, American attorney and author).jpg Theodore Sedgwick Democratic James Buchanan
15 December 1859

March 1861
James I. Roosevelt.jpg James I. Roosevelt Democratic
16 April 1861

April 1865
Edward Delafield Smith.png Edward Delafield Smith Republican Abraham Lincoln
17 April 1865

April 12, 1866
DanielSDickinson.png Daniel S. Dickinson Democratic
18 April 1866

April 25, 1869
Samuel G. Courtney [data unknown/missing] Andrew Johnson
19 April 25, 1869

July 20, 1870
Edwards Pierrepont, Brady-Handy bw photo portrait, ca1865-1880.jpg Edwards Pierrepont Republican Ulysses S. Grant
20 July 20, 1870

December 31, 1872
Noah Davis.jpg Noah Davis Republican
21 December 31, 1872

January 24, 1877
George Bliss Jr. [data unknown/missing]
22 January 24, 1877

March 12, 1883
Stewart L Woodford 1909.jpg Stewart L. Woodford Republican
23 March 12, 1883

July 6, 1885
Elihu-Root.png Elihu Root Republican Chester A. Arthur
24 July 6, 1885

March 1, 1886
William Dorsheimer.jpg William Dorsheimer Democratic Grover Cleveland
25 March 1, 1886

September 16, 1889
Stephen A. Walker [data unknown/missing]
26 September 16, 1889

February 1, 1894
Edward Mitchell Republican Benjamin Harrison
February 1, 1894

July 23, 1894
Henry Clay Platt.png Henry C. Platt[a] Democratic Grover Cleveland
27 July 23, 1894

January 1898
Wallace Macfarlane [data unknown/missing]
28 January 1898

January 1906
HenrLawrBurn-2.jpg Henry Lawrence Burnett [data unknown/missing] William McKinley
29 January 1906

April 8, 1909
Henry Stimson, Harris & Ewing bw photo portrait, 1929.jpg Henry L. Stimson Republican Theodore Roosevelt
30 April 8, 1909

May 7, 1913
Henry A. Wise [data unknown/missing] William Howard Taft
31 May 7, 1913

April 1917
Hudson Snowden Marshall in 1915 (cropped).jpg Hudson Snowden Marshall [data unknown/missing] Woodrow Wilson
32 April 1917

June 1921
Caffey, Francis Gordon .jpg Francis Gordon Caffey Democratic
33 June 1921

March 2, 1925
William Hayward Republican Warren Harding
34 March 2, 1925

April 6, 1927
Emory Buckner in 1917 (cropped).jpg Emory Buckner Republican Calvin Coolidge
35 April 6, 1927

September 29, 1930
Charles H. Tuttle.jpg Charles H. Tuttle Republican
September 29, 1930

January 1931
Robert E. Manley[b] [data unknown/missing] Herbert Hoover
36 January 1931

November 21, 1933
George Z. Medalie Republican
November 22, 1933

December 26, 1933
Thomas E. Dewey.jpg Thomas E. Dewey[c] Republican Franklin D. Roosevelt
37 December 26, 1933

May 16, 1935
Martin Thomas Conboy, Jr. portrait circa 1920.jpg Martin Thomas Conboy Jr. [data unknown/missing]
May 16, 1935

November 20, 1935
Francis W. H. Adams[d] [data unknown/missing]
38 November 20, 1935

December 1938
Lamar Hardy [data unknown/missing]
December 1938

March 1939
Gregory Francis Noonan[e] [data unknown/missing]
39 March 1939

March 1941
John T. Cahill [data unknown/missing]
40 March 1941[f]

June 10, 1943
Mathias F. Correa [data unknown/missing]
June 10, 1943

August 2, 1943
Howard F. Corcoran[g] [data unknown/missing]
41 August 2, 1943

October 9, 1944
James B. M. McNally [data unknown/missing]
42 October 9, 1944[h]

October 1949
John F. X. McGohey [data unknown/missing]
43 October 1949[i]

September 18, 1951

Irving Howard Saypol circa 1950.jpg Irving Saypol [data unknown/missing] Harry S. Truman
44 September 18, 1951

April 1, 1953
Myles J. Lane [data unknown/missing]
45 April 1, 1953

July 11, 1955
J. Edward Lumbard Republican[12] Dwight D. Eisenhower
July 11, 1955

September 1, 1955
Lloyd F. MacMahon[j] [data unknown/missing]
46 September 1, 1955

July 9, 1958
Paul W. Williams [data unknown/missing]
July 9, 1958

Arthur H. Christy[k] [data unknown/missing]
47 1959

January 31, 1961
Samuel Hazard Gillespie Jr 1970s.jpg Samuel Hazard Gillespie Jr. [data unknown/missing]
January 31, 1961

April 18, 1961
Morton S. Robson[l] [data unknown/missing] John F. Kennedy
48[m] April 18, 1961

January 16, 1970
Robert Morgenthau at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg Robert Morgenthau Democratic
49 January 16, 1970

June 4, 1973
Whitney North Seymour Jr. Republican Richard Nixon
50 June 4, 1973

October 31, 1975
Paul J. Curran Republican
October 31, 1975

March 1, 1976
Thomas J. Cahill[n] [data unknown/missing] Gerald Ford
51 March 1, 1976

March 2, 1980
Robert B. Fiske Republican
March 3, 1980

May 21, 1980
William M. Tendy[o] [data unknown/missing] Jimmy Carter
52 May 22, 1980

June 3, 1983
John S. Martin Jr. [data unknown/missing]
53 June 3, 1983

January 1, 1989
Rudy Giuliani 2000.jpg Rudy Giuliani Republican Ronald Reagan
January 1, 1989

October 16, 1989
Benito Romano[p] [data unknown/missing] George H. W. Bush
54 October 16, 1989

May 31, 1993
Otto G. Obermaier [data unknown/missing]
55 June 1, 1993

January 7, 2002
Mary Jo White official portrait.jpg Mary Jo White Unaffiliated[13] Bill Clinton
56 January 7, 2002

December 15, 2003
James Comey US Attorney.jpg James Comey Republican[14] George W. Bush
December 15, 2003

September 6, 2005
David N. Kelley US Attorney.jpg David N. Kelley[q] Democratic
57 September 6, 2005

December 1, 2008
Michael J. Garcia US Attorney.jpg Michael J. Garcia Republican
December 1, 2008

August 13, 2009
Lev Dassin US Attorney.jpg Lev Dassin[r] Unaffiliated
58 August 13, 2009

March 11, 2017
Bharara, Preet Headshot.jpg Preet Bharara Democratic Barack Obama
March 11, 2017

January 5, 2018
Acting USA Yoon Kim.jpg Joon Kim[s] [data unknown/missing] Donald Trump
January 5, 2018

June 20, 2020
Geoffrey S. Berman (cropped).jpg Geoffrey Berman[t] Republican
June 20, 2020

Audrey Strauss.jpg Audrey Strauss[u] Democratic
  1. ^ Henry C. Platt served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  2. ^ Robert E. Manley served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  3. ^ Thomas E. Dewey served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  4. ^ Francis W. H. Adams served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  5. ^ Gregory Francis Noonan served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  6. ^ Correa served as Acting U.S. Attorney from March to July 1941 before official confirmation to the post.
  7. ^ Howard F. Corcoran served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  8. ^ McGohey served as Acting U.S. Attorney from October 9, 1944 to January 1945 before official confirmation to the post.
  9. ^ Saypol served as Acting U.S. Attorney from October 1949 to April 13, 1950 before official confirmation to the post.
  10. ^ Lloyd F. McMahon served as interim U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  11. ^ Arthur H. Christy served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  12. ^ Morton S. Robson served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  13. ^ From September 6 to November 20, 1962, Morgenthau resigned his position to run for Governor of New York. After he was defeated, John F. Kennedy re-appointed him as U.S. Attorney. In the interim, Vincent Lyons Broderick served as acting U.S. Attorney from September 5 to November 20, 1962.
  14. ^ Thomas J. Cahill served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  15. ^ William M. Tendy served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  16. ^ Benito Romano served as Acting U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  17. ^ David N. Kelley served as interim U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  18. ^ Lev Dassin served as interim U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  19. ^ Joon Kim served as interim U.S. Attorney during the vacancy
  20. ^ Geoffrey Berman served as Interim U.S. Attorney from January 5 to April 25, 2018[15][16] and as court-appointed U.S. Attorney from April 25, 2018 to June 20, 2020[17][18][19][20]
  21. ^ Audrey Strauss served as Acting U.S. Attorney from June 20, 2020 until she was court-appointed U.S. Attorney on January 16, 2021

Notable assistants[edit]

In popular culture[edit]


The Showtime drama series Billions is loosely based on Preet Bharara's prosecution of SAC Capital and other hedge funds.[21]

The ABC legal drama For the People depicts new defense attorneys and prosecutors working in the Southern District of New York.

The 2020 Netflix series Fear City: New York vs The Mafia documents the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Southern District of New York against the Five Families of the Italian American Mafia in the 1980s.


  1. ^ Weiser, Benjamin; Rashbaum, William K. (March 10, 2017). "With Preet Bharara's Dismissal, Storied Office Loses Its Top Fighter". New York Times. In past presidential transitions, the storied office, long known to be so independent of Washington that some people referred to it as the Sovereign District of New York, has in large measure moved forward unaffected by politics.
  2. ^ Beale, Sara Sun (2011). "What Are the Rules if Everybody Wants to Play?". In Barkow, Anthony S.; Barkow, Rachel E. (eds.). Prosecutors in the Boardroom: Using Criminal Law to Regulate Corporate conduct. NYU Press. p. 206. ISBN 9780814787038. Finally, in some multijurisdictional cases there have been turf battles rather than cooperation. For example, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York ..... Press accounts have noted the perception that the "'Sovereign District of New York'...doesn't necessar[il]y play well with others."
  3. ^ McDermott, Terry; Meyer, Josh (2012). The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Little, Brown. p. PT42. ISBN 9780316202732. This was sometimes referred to—mockingly, but enviously, too—as the Sovereign District of New York. It was in many ways a separate fiefdom from the rest of the Bureau, creating its own rules and procedures. The agent in charge of the office, unlike all but one other agent in charge, held the rank of an assistant director of the entire FBI."
  4. ^ Ragavan, Chitra (March 26, 2001). "The pardon buck stops in New York: U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White takes the lead". U.S. News & World Report. Vol. 130 no. 12. p. 24. The Bush administration has left the answer largely in the hands of White, a registered independent, whose office, because of its legendary independence and tenacity, is known as the 'sovereign district.'
  5. ^ Relman, Eliza (May 15, 2017). "'History will judge this moment': The 'Sheriff of Wall Street' urges Republican lawmakers to hold Trump accountable". Business Insider. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  6. ^ "In the Matter of the Appointment of Audrey Strauss as United States Attorney" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 22, 2021.
  7. ^ "Office of the District Court Executive, Press Advisory" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 22, 2021.
  8. ^ "Statement Of Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss On Court Appointment As U.S. Attorney". Archived from the original on December 28, 2020.
  9. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (December 22, 2020). "Court Extends Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Term, as Inauguration Nears". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  10. ^ Organization and Operation, U.S. Attorney's Office
  11. ^ "Southern District of New York". www.justice.gov. March 10, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  12. ^ https://nyyrc.com/history/
  13. ^ 2013 Speech to the 14th Annual A.A. Sommer, Jr. Corporate Securities and Financial Law Lecture, Fordham Law School SEC. (October 3, 2013). Retrieved December 14, 2014
  14. ^ Krieg, Gregory (May 9, 2017). "Who is James Comey: 7 things to know about the fired FBI director". CNN. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  15. ^ "Statement Of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman On Appointment By Chief Judge". April 25, 2018. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  16. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (August 9, 2009). "For Manhattan's Next U.S. Attorney, Politics and Prosecution Don't Mix". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Erica Orden; Evan Perez; Shimon Prokupecz (October 12, 2019). "Manhattan US attorney in the spotlight with another high profile investigation of Trump's inner circle". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  18. ^ Scannell, Kara. "US Attorney Geoffrey Berman asserts independence from Justice Department". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  19. ^ Erica Orden; Kara Scannell (February 15, 2020). "Attorney general's actions spark outrage and unease among US prosecutors". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  20. ^ Spinelli, Dan. "Report: Barr Protected Turkish Bank From Prosecution to Appease Erdogan". Mother Jones. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  21. ^ Tallerico, Brian (April 2, 2017). "Billions Recap: Agents of Chaos". Vulture. Retrieved April 25, 2017.

External links[edit]