On Friday, September 21, AABANY was proud to co-sponsor the 5th Annual Scholarship Banquet of NAPIPA, the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors’ Association. Held at Golden Unicorn in Chinatown, the event started with cocktails at 6 pm. Shortly after 7 pm, everyone was invited to take their seats as the program and dinner began. Opening remarks were given by the evening’s Masters of Ceremonies, Stephanie Pak and David Sohn of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. David is also serving this year as AABANY’s Membership Director.

Paul Jhin, NAPIPA President, offered welcoming remarks, followed by AABANY President James Cho, Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, presenting introductory remarks.

Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) gave congratulatory remarks, praising and thanking the prosecutors from different parts of the country who gathered for the scholarship banquet. It was the first NAPIPA banquet held outside of California. Congresswoman Meng thanked the organizers for having her speak before Preet Bharara, because he would have been a “hard act to follow.”

Preet Bharara was the keynote speaker for the evening. He told the audience that he wanted to keep his remarks brief so that he could leave more time to take questions from the audience. Short as his remarks were, they were as always memorable and humorous, drawing appreciative laughter and applause from the audience. Preet was struck by how many more people know him from his hit podcast “Stay Tuned” than for the important and groundbreaking cases he brought during his years as US Attorney in the Southern District, putting away white collar criminals, terrorists and organized crime bosses.

Audience members, at the start of the dinner, were given pieces of paper and pens to write questions that they wanted to pose to Preet. Kings County ADA Albert Suh (who also co-chairs AABANY’s Community Response Task Force and serves as Editor of AABANY’s newsletter, The Advocate), read the questions for Preet to answer. Many related to Preet’s thoughts about prosecutorial power and current events, but the most interesting question of the evening may have been: “What is your ‘go-to’ karaoke song, and will you join us at the after-party at Karaoke City to sing it?” The answer to the first part of the question: “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen. The answer to the second part: “We’ll see.”

Following the q&a, NAPIPA Foundation CEO Charlie Huang presented the NAPIPA/APAPA (Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs) Scholarships to three recipients: Tyler Lee, from Columbia Law School; Michelle Park, from Southwestern Law School; and Christian Ro, from Cardozo Law School. Congratulations to all the scholarship recipients!

After the conclusion of the dinner, a hearty contingent headed up to Koreatown for the after-party at Karaoke City. And, no – Preet did not join us there. Perhaps someone sang “Thunder Road” in his honor?