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U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Refutes Defense Claim That He Should Be Taken off Gov. Blagojevich Case

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald

One thing U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald is known for: not walking away from a battle. Here’s the latest salvo in the Gov. Blagojevich case.

By MIKE ROBINSON
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO — Federal prosecutors fired back Thursday at defense claims that U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s comments at a news conference were so strongly worded that he should be taken off the fraud case against Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Fitzgerald said in announcing charges against Blagojevich and former chief of staff John Harris on Dec. 9 the two men had been on “a political corruption crime spree” and their actions would make “Lincoln roll over in his grave.”
Defense attorneys have asked Chief Judge James F. Holderman of the U.S. District Court to take Fitzgerald off the case, saying the comments were so far over the line that they were guaranteed to generate prejudicial publicity before the trial.
Fitzgerald’s office said in court papers filed Thursday his comments were not improper and “served as a means of energizing and mobilizing the community to take action to thwart or deter public corruption.”

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