An assistant Brooklyn district attorney has tested whether participating in "the ultimate job interview" on Donald Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" is compatible with being a prosecutor.
Apparently, it isn't.
Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy, who joined the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office last fall, submitted her resignation on Monday.
Reached for comment Wednesday, Saeidi-Azcuy said that her newfound celebrity had already proved an obstacle to being a prosecutor, since jurors have begun to recognize her after only two episodes.
"Obviously, how can I be in a courtroom now, at least while the show is airing?" Saeidi-Azcuy said.
Her decision to resign renders moot the question of whether District Attorney Charles J. Hynes would be compelled to borrow Trump's trademark tagline: "You're fired."
In her year in Hynes' office, Saeidi-Azcuy mostly handled misdemeanors in Criminal Court. At the beginning of this summer she asked for and received two months of unpaid leave, during which she filmed the show. She did not inform the office of the reason for her absence.
"We did not know because the district attorney does not ask," office spokesman Jerry Schmetterer said. "He trusts that it's important and has trust in people and does not ask. And that's his policy. We're not going to change that policy."
Had Hynes known the reason for the leave application, it would not have been granted, Schmetterer said.
Hynes decided to transfer Saeidi-Azcuy to a lower-profile position in the office's early case assessment bureau following the show's Sept. 16 premiere. Schmetterer declined to call the move a demotion, but rather an effort to put Saeidi-Azcuy in a position where her burgeoning celebrity would be less likely to present conflicts.
Saeidi-Azcuy said the office made it "very clear" that the impending transfer was not intended as punishment. "But I think if you know me or just watch the show, I'm the type of person who loves to be in a courtroom, who loves to have a caseload, that's why I come in to work every day," she said.
Until resigning -- her last day of work is Friday -- Saeidi-Azcuy was one of the few contestants on "The Apprentice" to be employed. This season features people who "have been hit hard by the current economic downturn" -- among them an unemployed financial advisor, an unemployed account manager and two unemployed attorneys.
The entire season has been filmed except for the finale, at which Trump will select the winner, who will be offered a "six-figure" job within his company.
Saeidi-Azcuy's appearance on the show over the next few months seemed likely to prove an embarrassment for Hynes.
In addition to the insinuation that being a $50,000-a-year prosecutor represents being a victim of the downturn, Saeidi-Azcuy was very publicly applying for another position while taking time off from her job.
Saeidi-Azcuy was also quickly developing a reputation for nastiness. When the candidates were brought before Trump in the first episode, she turned on her project manager, Nicole.
"I'm going to give it to you straight, Mr. Trump," she said. "I thought that Nicole would be one of the strongest contenders here. That's absolutely not the case … You say great leaders should have a plan B. She didn't even have a plan A. Mr. Trump, she was awful."
Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump's daughter and one of the show's co-hosts, later said, "Mahsa was brutal. I mean, [she was] just so excited to speak and to yell. I was shocked. She's so unprofessional -- her voice, her yelling … I think Mahsa has a terrible attitude."
"She's scary yelling," said one of Saeidi-Azcuy's co-contestants.
Her appearance on the show adds to the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office track record as a stepping stone to media celebrity.
Former assistant district attorney Star Jones worked as a legal commentator for Court TV and NBC before co-hosting "The View."
In 2001, senior homicide prosecutor Robert Reuland published "Hollowpoint," the fictional story of a Brooklyn prosecutor investigating the murder of a young girl. Reuland was demoted and then fired after telling New York Magazine that "Brooklyn is the best place to be a homicide prosecutor" because "we've got more dead bodies per square inch than anyplace else." Reuland sued the office over his demotion.
Saeidi-Azcuy, 29, was born in Tehran, grew up in Virginia and lives in Park Slope. She is a 2009 graduate of Brooklyn Law School. In the interview Wednesday, she said she decided to become a prosecutor because of Hynes and to work in Brooklyn because of his emphasis on alternative programs.
"It was a very difficult decision [to resign], I definitely cried about it, but I felt like I didn't really have a choice," she said.
Told that people will read into her decision to resign that she made it to the show's finale, Saeidi-Azcuy said, "Absolutely not."
"I left my job because I couldn't really be in a courtroom any more. Absolutely, I did not quit my job because I won the show. [People] will have to tune in and see," she said. "I can say for the first time in my life that I don't have a plan. I think I will be fine. I'm an incredibly hard worker. I'm incredibly driven. There's nothing but good things in my future."