Fishman speaks out on resignation as US Attorney
TEANECK — New Jersey's former top federal prosecutor said Sunday that the timing of the Trump administration's request that he resign was "abrupt and shocking" and complicates the transition to a successor.
Paul Fishman discussed the matter after he spoke at the American Muslim Union brunch in Teaneck.
Fishman announced Friday he was stepping down that day. That came after the Justice Department requested resignations from him and 45 other United States attorneys appointed during the prior presidential administration.
The Justice Department has said the request was similar to ones made in past presidential transitions.
Fishman told The Record he expected to be asked to step down within a few months. But the Montclair resident said he only had a few hours to submit his resignation, adding that he didn't consider refusing the request.
"A transition period would have been a lot better," Fishman said. "I knew this job wasn't mine forever. It shouldn't be in any event, and the President has the power, authority and opportunity to appoint U.S. Attorneys who would serve him and I fully expected that process would take place over a couple of months. I just didn't think we would be given seven to nine hours."
Fishman said he found out about the resignation request Friday night after he arrived back in New Jersey from a speaking engagement in Florida. He had a message to call acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, whom he has known for years and considers a friend.
"(Boente) told me he had been asked to call me to submit my resignation and I did," Fishman said. He said he wasn't given a detailed explanation for the decision.
"The president asks for your resignation and under those circumstances I felt it appropriate to hand it in," he said.
For Fishman, the resignation came only days before the sentencings of two former allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case. It was perhaps the highest profile case in his more than seven years in office.
Fishman said investigations and prosecutions will continue without interruption since he's the only office member leaving.
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