United States Attorney for the 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.

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
Jurisdiction of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.jpg
Southern District of New York

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 has had the SDNY consolidate a reputation for being exceptionally aggressive in their pursuit of criminals.[3][4] Due to its jurisdiction over metropolitan New York City, the financial capital of the world, the office’s incumbent is passively known to be the “Sheriff of Wall Street”.[5][6]

Geoffrey Berman served as U.S. Attorney for the SDNY from 2018 to 2020, taking over from Preet Bharara (2009–2017).[7][8] According to news articles, Berman has continued the independent and nonpartisan tradition of the SDNY.[9][10][11][12] In June 2020, Berman was fired by President Donald Trump and replaced with his deputy Audrey Strauss.


United States Southern District of New York counties

The Office is organized into divisions handling civil and criminal matters. The Southern District of New York also has two offices: one in Manhattan, and one in White Plains. The Office employs approximately 220 Assistant U.S. Attorneys.[13]

List of U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New YorkEdit

In 1814, the District of New York was divided into the Northern and the Southern District. The next year, the first U.S. Attorneys for the new districts were appointed:[14]

Notable assistantsEdit

In popular cultureEdit

In the TV series Billions, Paul Giamatti plays a character based on Preet Bharara. Bharara was a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who prosecuted SAC Capital and other hedge funds.[15]

The TV series For the People covers new defense and prosecution lawyers working in the Southern District of New York.

The TV series Fear city covers the work of the Southern District of New York against the Italian mob


  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. ^ Leung, Rebecca (May 30, 2003). "The Sheriff Of Wall Street". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Statement Of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman On Appointment By Chief Judge". 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  8. ^ For Manhattan's Next U.S. Attorney, Politics and Prosecution Don't Mix, The New York Times, August 9, 2009.
  9. ^ Erica Orden; Evan Perez; Shimon Prokupecz. "Manhattan US attorney in the spotlight with another high profile investigation of Trump's inner circle". CNN. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  10. ^ Scannell, Kara. "US Attorney Geoffrey Berman asserts independence from Justice Department". CNN. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  11. ^ Erica Orden; Kara Scannell. "Attorney general's actions spark outrage and unease among US prosecutors". CNN. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  12. ^ Spinelli, Dan. "Report: Barr Protected Turkish Bank From Prosecution to Appease Erdogan". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  13. ^ Organization and Operation, U.S. Attorney's Office
  14. ^ "Southern District of New York". www.justice.gov. March 10, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  15. ^ Tallerico, Brian. "Billions Recap: Agents of Chaos". Vulture. Retrieved 2017-04-25.

External linksEdit