Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to Speak at St. John’s Law Commencement
Preet Bharara, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, will be the Law School’s commencement speaker and will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws on Sunday, June 3, 2018. The commencement exercises will take place at Carnesecca Arena on St. John’s Queens campus.
“We’re delighted that Preet has agreed to be our speaker,” says Dean Michael A. Simons. “He brings a unique perspective as an accomplished prosecutor and a dedicated public servant. Born in India to a Sikh father and a Hindu mother and raised in New Jersey, he is also an inspiration to the immigrant community, as well as an outspoken advocate for a compassionate approach to issues that impact it. In all these respects, Preet is an outstanding professional who exemplifies values central to our Vincentian mission, and is most deserving of an honorary degree from St. John’s.”
After starting his legal career as a litigator in private practice, Bharara served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a wide range of cases involving organized crime, racketeering, securities fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and other crimes. He continued his public service with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts before being sworn in in as U.S. Attorney in 2009, a position he held until 2017.
During his tenure as Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor, Bharara and his office of more than 200 Assistant U.S. Attorneys secured high profile convictions against major terrorists, including Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, London imam Abu Hamza, and Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and international criminals, such as arms trafficker Viktor Bout and Somali pirate Abduwali Muse.
Described by the New York Times as one of “the nation’s most aggressive and outspoken prosecutors of public corruption and Wall Street crime,” Bharara prosecuted nearly 100 Wall Street executives for insider trading and other offenses, and reached historic settlements and fines with the four largest banks in the United States. He also brought notable indictments against a wide variety of public officials, including New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and New York State Senate Leader Dean Skelos.
Among other accolades, Bharara has been featured on the cover of TIME and appeared on its list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. He was included in the New York Observer’s New York City’s Political Power 50 list in 2016 and, that same year, was named City & State’s Newsmaker of the Decade.
Since leaving public office, Bharara has launched Stay Tuned with Preet, an influential public radio podcast about justice and fairness. Most recently, he established the National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy, a nonpartisan initiative co-led by former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman.