Best of the States


AP scoops everyone on dramatic ouster of federal prosecutor


When a source told Justice Department reporter Michael Balsamo to hang out near his email on Friday night, what unfolded was strange: news that the top Manhattan federal prosecutor – the one investigating President Donald Trump’s allies – was said to be resigning his job and the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission would take over. The AP was out with the story for at least a half hour,complete with a push alert,before the competition could catch up.

And that was just the beginning. Geoffrey Berman didn’t resign,he was fired – but he planned to fight. Southern District reporter Larry Neumeister got a tip that Berman was heading to work the next day, and the AP was there to shoot photos and get the money quote: “I’m just here to do my job.”

Neumeister followed up with deep source reporting on what exactly was going on in the office. That,coupled with Balsamo’s sources from DOJ, put AP out ahead again with context and details as Berman left his job amid conflicting statements from President Donald Trump and Attorney General WIlliam Barr.

Play on both stories,online and in print,was outstanding.

For work that put the AP way ahead,both with the breaking news and the meaning behind the maneuvering, Balsamo and Neumeister share this week’s Best of the States honors.

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