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Bharara Says U.S. Budget Dispute May Damage Prosecutions

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara warned that a U.S. budget impasse may leave his office without enough prosecutors to effectively pursue cases.

Bharara said today at the Bloomberg Markets 50 Summit in New York that he’s worried a hiring freeze might continue if budget disputes persist and lead to a government shutdown. Although his office has no shortage of applicants, it has been unable to replace lawyers who have left recently, he said.

“If I’m not able to replace prosecutors that are excellent for another two years, the level of prosecution, the level of holding institutions accountable, is going to go down,” he said. “People should be worried about that.”

Under Bharara’s watch, more than 70 people have pleaded guilty or been convicted of insider-trading charges. His latest high-profile target, Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors LP, is said to be in talks to settle insider-trading charges.

Congress faces a deadline to agree on a federal spending plan before the government’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christie Smythe in New York at csmythe1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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