After stepping into the role in an "acting" basis after her boss was pushed out, Audrey Strauss was formally named the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday.

The NY Times notes, "[T]he judges of the Federal District Court in Manhattan, exercising a rarely used power, formally appointed her to the post, extending her tenure as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. While the court gave no reasons, the move clearly seemed intended to keep Ms. Strauss, 73, in her job until President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes office and can fill the post with his own candidate."

Strauss took the role as the top federal prosecutor for New York City after her predecessor Geoffrey Berman, an appointee of President Donald Trump, was essentially ousted by U.S. Attorney General William Barr in June. Barr had issued a statement saying that Berman had resigned on June 19th, and thanked him for his work—but Berman, who had been in the midst of investigating associates of Trump, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, refused to resign until a day later.

In his resignation statement, Berman specifically cited the fact that Strauss would be the acting U.S. Attorney when describing why he was comfortable leaving the office, "In light of Attorney General Barr’s decision to respect the normal operation of law and have Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss become Acting U.S. Attorney, I will be leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, effective immediately. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as this District’s U.S. Attorney and a custodian of its proud legacy, but I could leave the District in no better hands than Audrey’s. She is the smartest, most principled, and effective lawyer with whom I have ever had the privilege of working. And I know that under her leadership, this Office’s unparalleled AUSAs, investigators, paralegals, and staff will continue to safeguard the Southern District’s enduring tradition of integrity and independence.”

On Tuesday, Strauss, a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University Law School, said, "Chief Judge Colleen McMahon notified me today that the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has appointed me United States Attorney for the District, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 546(d), effective January 16, 2021.  I am deeply grateful for the Court’s support and the opportunity to continue serving the people of New York and this country.  It is the privilege of a lifetime to lead the women and men of this District as they pursue justice without fear or favor and write the latest chapter in this Office’s proud legacy."

She served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District between 1976 and 1983 and was a defense lawyer in private practice before returning to the office to work under Berman.

The Southern District handles some of the most high-profile cases in the country, and, since June, Strauss has been involved in the prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged procurer Ghislaine Maxwell; the case accusing Trump adviser Steve Bannon of fraud over money donated for the president's border wall; and fashion mogul Peter Nygard, for alleged sex trafficking and racketeering. More recently, the office has reportedly been interested in seeking Giuliani's electronic communication as part of their investigations.

Jessica A. Roth, a professor at Cardozo Law School, told the Times that if the Biden administration doesn't immediately replace her, having Strauss firmly in place as the U.S. Attorney "reduces any possible concerns about the appearance of interference... the same team that investigated the case under the previous administration would remain to make the critical charging decisions."

Strauss, a registered Democrat, is the second woman to lead the Southern District; Mary Jo White was the first, serving from 1993 until 2002.