Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Monday endorsed Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini for county district attorney.
Sini, a Democrat who worked in Bharara’s office for five years, is “one of the best and the brightest, but has a strong moral compass and integrity,” as well as “a passion for keeping people safe . . . and fighting crime,” Bharara said in an interview.
Bharara served as U. S. attorney for the Southern District in Manhattan from 2009 until early this year, when he was fired by President Donald Trump.
Another former U.S. attorney for the Southern District, David Kelley, is Sini’s campaign chairman.
Over the weekend, Sini also won the endorsement of the Working Families Party.
During his tenure, Bharara won convictions against ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).
The endorsement came only hours before Suffolk Democrats were scheduled to meet for their county convention at IBEW Local 25 in Hauppauge.
More than a dozen potential Democratic, Republican and Conservative candidates are jockeying for prized major and minor party endorsements for district attorney.
Bharara said his announcement was unrelated to the convention, but added, “Just as I hired Tim in 2010, now it is time for Suffolk County residents to hire him as district attorney.” A Sini campaign news release said it was Bharara’s first endorsement of a candidate for elected office.
Despite Bharara’s endorsement, Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said he would not change plans to put off a decision about the party’s district attorney candidate until he can complete talks with other political parties about possible cross-endorsements.
But John Jay LaValle, Suffolk GOP chairman, issued a statement saying Republicans will nominate candidates for district attorney and sheriff according to a party bylaw that bars major party cross-endorsements for any elected office except judge.
“Therefore, any assertion that the Suffolk Democratic Party is delaying its choice of candidates based on a possibility of a Republican cross-endorsement is incorrect,” LaValle said.