Thursday, July 14, 2005
US Atty Patrick J. Fitzgerald
Patrick J. Fitzgerald began serving as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois on September 1, 2001. Mr. Fitzgerald was...nominated by President G. W. Bush. The Senate confirmed his nomination by unanimous consent on October 23, 2001, and President Bush signed his commission on October 29, 2001.At the time of his appointment, noone in the Senate or the WH seemed to have any problems with this man. I hope they don't start to once indictments start coming out of his office.
As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Fitzgerald serves as the district's top federal law enforcement official. He manages of staff of approximately 300 employees, including approximately 150 Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
Looking over his past, we can see he doesn't like corruption in public offices.
In Chicago, Mr. Fitzgerald has supervised the continuing public corruption investigation known as Operation Safe Road, which began in 1998, and which resulted in the convictions of more than 65 defendants, including more than 30 public employees and officials.
It is not just local corruption he seems to dislike, he also has an eye toward conspiracies.
Mr. Fitzgerald also served as trial counsel in United States v. Arnaout, in which the executive director of Benevolence International Foundation, Inc., a charitable organization based in south suburban Chicago, was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy for fraudulently obtaining charitable donations to provide financial assistance to persons engaged in violent activities overseas, including to fighters in Chechnya and Bosnia, instead of using donations strictly for peaceful, humanitarian purposes.
I know what you are thinking: The guys hates corruption, but is he soft on terrorism?
Well, he does seem to be someone who is more than a little hard on terrorism. Moreover, he appears to like to find conspiracies of illegal activity. Has his work cut out for himself this summer.
- ...participated in the prosecution of US v. Usama Bin Laden, et al., in which 23 defendants were charged with various offenses...Four defendants went on trial in January 2001 in New York, and a jury returned guilty verdicts against all four on May 29, 2001. All four were sentenced to life in prison on Oct. 18, 2001.
- ...participated in the trial of US v. Omar Abdel Rahman, et al., a nine-month trial in 1995 of 12 defendants who participated in a seditious conspiracy that involved the February 1993 bombing of the WTC...
- He also supervised the case of US v. Ramzi Yousef, et al., the 1996 prosecution of three defendants who participated in a conspiracy in the Philippines in late 1994...
- Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service in 1996
- Stimson Medal from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in 1997
- Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in 2002
Mr. Fitzgerald, 44, is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. He joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan in 1988 after three years as a litigation associate at the New York law firm, Christy & Viener. He graduated from Amherst College, Phi Beta Kappa, with a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics in 1982, and from Harvard Law School in 1985.I have a soft spot for anyone with a degree in mathematics. Throw in economics and a law degree and it is obvious we have one smart prosecutor on the case.
[Update, 7/20/05] More on Operation Safe Road from The Chicago Tribune December 17, 2003
Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was charged today in a federal racketeering indictment with conspiracy and fraud while he was governor and secretary of state.
"I submit that the citizens of this state expect honest government from the secretary of state or the governor," Fitzgerald said, "They deserve nothing less."
"It was not opened up as an investigation of George Ryan, it was opened up as an investigation of licenses for bribes at the secretary of state's office," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said today was the last day that the current grand jury was impaneled.
Ryan became the 66th person charged in the investigation; 59 people and his campaign committee have been convicted so far.
The federal investigation was launched after six children in one family died in a fiery accident on a Wisconsin expressway involving a trucker who may have bought his drivers license.
[Update, 7/20/05] Bob Harris makes the following observation about Mr. Fitzgerald:
Fitzgerald is certainly an interesting investigator for this case. A little background:
The full damage caused by the leak isn't yet knowable (at least without the clearance). But Valerie Wilson's CIA front, Brewster-Jennings, was reportedly tasked with tracking the smuggling of explosive materials in the Middle East, so that crap like the 1993 WTC attack, the embassy bombings in Africa, and 9-11 wouldn't be even worse next time.
(That's the operation apparently shit-canned by this White House for their own political gain. So you can see why the CIA lifers pushed the case for criminal investigation, and why people are throwing the word "treason" around so much.)
The 1993 WTC attack was prosecuted by... Patrick Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald was then assigned to prosecute, yes, the Al-Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.
Fitzgerald was building a case against Osama Bin Laden five years before 9-11.
This job, one concludes, involved a certain appreciation for intelligence people studying the illicit movement of explosives by terrorists.
If there's a single prosecutor in America who fully understands what the Plame case is about -- a reckless compromise of national security for political interest -- it's this guy. If there's a prosecutor in this country who groks the background and context of the specific operations destroyed by this crime, it's this guy. And if there's a single prosecutor capable of pursuing a conspiracy case no matter where it reaches, it sure seems like it's this guy.
Given a choice between being chased by Patrick Fitzgerald and a pack of hungry zombies... I'm guessing the zombies would look pretty good right about now.
[Update 10/10/05] See Many a good thing said of US Atty Fitzgerald
[Update 10/21/05] Found this (FindLaw) transcript from the appointment of Mr Fitzgerald as Special Prosecutor. To quote from Deputy Attorney General James Comey's remarks:
[The] United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, will serve as special counsel in charge of this matter. I chose Mr. Fitzgerald, my friend and former colleague, based on his sterling reputation for integrity and impartiality. He is an absolutely apolitical career prosecutor. He is a man with extensive experience in national security and intelligence matters, extensive experience conducting sensitive investigations, and in particular, experience in conducting investigations of alleged government misconduct...
The regulations promulgated in 1999 by Attorney General Reno say that an outside special counsel should -- and I'm going to read you the quote -- "be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decision-making, and with appropriate experience to ensure both that the investigation will be conducted ably, expeditiously and thoroughly and that investigative and prosecutorial decisions will be supported by an informed understanding of the criminal law and Department of Justice policies."
When I read that, I realized that it describes Pat Fitzgerald perfectly. I once told a Chicago newspaper that Pat Fitzgerald was Eliot Ness with a Harvard law degree and a sense of humor. Anyone who knows him, who knows his work, who knows his background, knows that he is the perfect man for this job.
[Update 10/26/05] Add an entry pulled from NRO: Even Republicians that know Fitzgerald support him, including the quote
Pat Fitzgerald is the best prosecutor I have ever seen. By a mile. He is also the straightest shooter I have ever seen – by at least that much. And most importantly, he is a good man.See entry for more.