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U.S. attorney layoffs could open the door to Eastern District job for Aidala

March 13, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A door may have opened for Arthur Aidala to be named the next chief federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York after President Donald Trump fired 46 U.S. district attorneys on Friday. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

Arthur Aidala has been under consideration for the job of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York in recent weeks, but his chances likely improved on Friday when President Donald Trump asked for the resignation of 46 U.S. attorneys.

It was no secret that Trump eventually planned to replace U.S. Attorney Robert Capers in the Eastern District and on Feb. 28, Aidala, a Fox News personality and immediate past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, was named in the New York Law Journal as a possible replacement.

However, Aidala was hardly a lock for the position when other names out there included James McGovern; Todd Harrison, who worked at the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office from 2002 to 2008; and Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor who worked in the Southern District’s Manhattan office.

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Of that group, many members of the legal community who spoke with the Brooklyn Eagle suggested that the job was Mukasey’s for the taking as he not only had the experience, but had the closest ties with Rudy Giuliani, who was and still is expected to have a say in who Trump ultimately chooses.

“Rudy is the kingmaker,” one source told the Eagle on condition of anonymity. “If you are Trump and you are looking for a recommendation for this position — who better to rely on for a recommendation?”

Then things changed on Friday when Attorney General Jeff Sessions requested the resignation of 46 U.S. attorneys including Capers and, unexpectedly, Preet Bharara in the Southern District of New York, who ultimately forced Trump to fire him. Now the expectation is that Mukasey, who worked for Bracewell LLP and served on Giuliani’s presidential campaign, will replace Bharara in the Southern District and will leave a spot open for Aidala in the Eastern District.

Aidala has been considering a run for public office over the past few months. He formed an exploratory committee last December called “Aidala for New York,” and raised more than $250,000 during one fundraiser with his eyes on either the Brooklyn district attorney job or the New York state attorney general’s seat.

He said at the time that running the Brooklyn DA’s office was always his dream job, but told the Eagle earlier this month that he would love to be the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District and was flattered to even be considered.

“I’m flattered to even be in the conversation for such a prestigious position that helps keep America safe,” Aidala previously said. “There are many quality people [who have been rumored to be up for the job] and I am truly humbled to even be a part of that conversation. It would be the honor of a lifetime to be able to serve my fellow citizens in such a capacity.”

If Giuliani is indeed the person who Trump ultimately turns to for help picking the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, it could serve Aidala well. Aidala’s father, Louis Aidala, has been friends with Giuliani since Giuliani was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in the 1980s. Arthur and Giuliani have stayed in touch over the years with their connections in the legal community and on Fox News. Giuliani and his son even took part in the Brooklyn Bar Association’s annual golf outing after Aidala extended them an invitation.

Unfortunately for Aidala, there is also an expectation that congress members Dan Donovan (R-Bay Ridge, Staten Island) and Peter King (R-Long Island) could have a say in the selection process as well. That doesn’t kill his chances as Donovan may decide that picking Aidala, who is from Bay Ridge, couldn’t hurt his re-election bid in the neighborhood.

There is currently no timetable for Trump to name a replacement to Robert Capers in the Eastern District, but the process should take a few weeks, as whoever is chosen will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate prior to taking the position. Aidala will be busy in the meantime as he is defending Daniel Greenspan, whose mother owns the famous Greenwich Village lingerie shop La Petite Coquette, in a murder trial on Long Island.

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