Top FBI official in L.A. formally recuses himself from investigation into Tom Girardi and his law firm’s handling of the Bernie Madoff case, sources told NBC10.
Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement Wednesday explaining he had recused himself “due to a conflict of interest.”
According to NBC10 sources, the decision appears to be connected to the FBI’s investigation into Madoff.
FBI special agent Jeff Brenner is running a separate investigation of Madoff and his firm, with FBI agent Mary O’Dea as his lead investigator.
In a statement, Madoff’s attorney, Marty Singer, said his client “categorically denies the allegations made against him by the attorney general.”
“Bernie Madoff, who has been in the business of high-profile financial crimes for 42 years, was an entrepreneur who had a vision and commitment to his clients,” Singer said. “Bernie’s reputation and integrity has not been tarnished because of this decision.”
Girardi also vehemently denied any wrongdoing in a statement provided to NBC10.
In it, Girardi says he “deeply regrets” his “failure to keep his clients fully informed, and to protect them when he failed to do so.” He adds: “I was only a partner in the firm, and we were partners in other law firms as well. It is an unfortunate situation in my personal life that I am seeking to resolve.”
The FBI’s decision appears to come as a response to the FBI’s investigation into Madoff, with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigating whether he committed any crimes through a broker scandal.
The Madoff probe has been going on at the FBI since last Spring.
But the FBI’s decision means Girardi likely is no longer a government witness. The investigation is now in the hands of his lawyer, Mary O’Dea, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles. O’Dea is the lead investigator of the FBI’s Madoff investigation.
Girardi joined the Madoff team in 1992 as a general partner and later became the firm’s first executive vice president with the oversight