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Trump’s Top Candidate as NY Prosecutor is Controversial Choice

April 28, 2017

Perhaps in keeping with Donald Trump's penchant for surrounding himself with controversial and/or large-than-life individuals - some of whom might be described as miscreants - attorney Edward McNally is reportedly the leading candidate to replace Preet Bharara as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.


TRUMP CONNECTIONS.    Mr. McNally's has several threads of connections to Donald Trump. He's a partner with the law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, which has represented Trump in personal and business disputes and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly against sexual harassment claims. McNally also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney under Rudy Giuliani in New York.


HOW HE INFURIATED CHICAGO FEDS.    Mr. McNally has had his 'run ins' with federal prosecutors. In one incident, about a decade ago, McNally testified as a defense witness for a former Illinois governor facing U.S. corruption charges. According to Bloomberg Law:


It was a bizarre spectacle because the witness, Edward E. McNally was then the top federal prosecutor in southern Illinois and criticized the work of his colleagues in Chicago. On the witness stand, McNally raised questions about the conduct of an FBI agent and prosecutors during a 2001 interview with the ex- governor, George Ryan, whom McNally had previously represented as a private attorney.


LARGER THAN LIFE.    Mr. McNally wrote a Washington Post essay, in which he said he may have been the inspiration for the charming but rule-breaking title character in the 1986 movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”  He and movie director John Hughes grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and their childhood experiences were incorporated into the movie  - like running the car in reverse to clean off miles from an odometer.  


PROFESSIONAL PROFILE.   Here's a portion of McNally's background, taken from the web page of Kasowitz Benson:  


Edward McNally is a former United States Attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorney who, following the September 11th attacks, was appointed by the President as the nation’s first General Counsel for homeland security and counter-terrorism.  Described in the press as “one of America’s top white collar crime lawyers” and “top defenders in complex financial cases,” news reports call Mr. McNally a “high profile attorney” who is “larger-than-life,” “highly regarded in legal circles,” and a “charismatic” lawyer who’s had “a storied legal career.”


With over two decades of federal, prosecutorial and law enforcement experience, including in the leadership at Criminal Division headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice, in the Office of the Counsel to the President of the United States, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney under Rudy Giuliani in New York, Mr. McNally is a trial and appellate lawyer whose practice includes affirmative recoveries, antitrust, commercial disputes, business and other civil litigation, corporate governance, and internal investigations for fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), public corruption and other matters.


A Chicago native, he was educated at Yale, Notre Dame Law, and the London School of Economics.