Robert Mueller’s office confirmed Tuesday evening that former fraud and corruption prosecutor has agreed to join the special counsel staff. | Saul Loeb/Getty Images
A federal judge who is the wife of a lawyer joining special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation recently recused herself from a pair of lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump’s business dealings with foreign governments.
Mueller’s office confirmed Tuesday evening that former fraud and corruption prosecutor Greg Andres has agreed to join the special counsel staff.
The development offers an explanation for the previously unanswered question of why U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams, who married Andres in 2001, suddenly recused herself last month from the emoluments lawsuits. One of the cases was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington and the other was brought by White Plains, N.Y. attorney William Weinstein.
On July 11, Abrams — an Obama appointee — recused from the suits without any explanation or warning to the parties. A person familiar with the situation said Abrams had recused, but the public court docket showed only that the cases were both reassigned that day to Judge George Daniels, a Clinton appointee.
Recusals are not unusual, although they most often occur at the outset of a case. The CREW suit was filed in January. Weinstein’s case was brought in February.
Andres, the 16th attorney known to have joined Mueller’s squad, is a specialist in fraud and foreign corruption cases. He became a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York, in 1999, eventually rising to be head of the criminal section in that office. From 2010 to 2012, he served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division at the Justice Department’s headquarters in Washington.
After leaving the federal government, Andres joined the Davis Polk law firm in New York, where he has often worked on cases involving executives from banks and hedge funds. His hiring for the Mueller team was first reported by Reuters.
A CREW spokeman declined to comment on the recusal.
Weinstein said he was unsure why Abrams stepped aside. “I have no idea or knowledge at all,” he said Wednesday.
Other suits about Trump’s income from foreign sources are also pending in federal courts in Washington, D.C., Greenbelt, Maryland, and West Palm Beach, Florida.