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Fed prosecutor probing Albany offers advice to Harvard Law grads

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the southern

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, holds a press conference in the lobby of the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan on April 4, 2013. (Credit: Charles Eckert)

ALBANY -- U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara gave a wide-ranging speech this week at Harvard Law School’s Class Day and dropped a few kernels about the makeup of the guy who is investigating Albany corruption.

He quoted the character played by Boston’s own Mark Wahlberg in “The Departed” when the character, a cop angry after an operation went south, was told to identify himself.

“I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.”

Bharara said that’s his on-the-job philosophy.

“That is where your focus should always be, being the guy who always does his job,” said Bharara, who earned his bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard, which webcast his address Wednesday. “Nothing else matters but doing your job and doing it well every day ... it means being the guy who does his job even when no one is looking.”

He warned students that highly motivated people tend to think they can throw a no-hitter every time, and score big, quick victories.

“But you have got to do it one pitch at a time, pitch after pitch,” he said. “That’s what develops into a perfect game.”

Bharara is investigating Albany after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo dissolved his anti-corruption Moreland Commission in a political deal with the Legislature. Bharara has taken over the commission’s pending cases and has ordered officials in Albany to retain all their records as he investigates.

He said he rewrote his speech at the Hong Kong Restaurant Harvard Square, partly aided by Scorpion Bowl cocktail. He added a Maya Angelou quote, prompted by the death of the influential writer that day.

“’I’ve leaned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands,’” Bharara quoted, “’You need to be able to throw something back.’”

“Go out there and try to be good, do it one pitch at a time, and throw something back,” Bharara told the graduates.

Tags: corruption

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