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Chicago U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald and FBI Chief Testify in Mob Witness Protection Leak

Patrick Fitzgerald

Patrick Fitzgerald discussing a previous case

Things aren’t looking up for you when a high-profile U.S. Attorney and the special agent in charge of the local FBI testify against you in a federal trial. 

By Robert Mitchum
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — When Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose reported to Chicago FBI headquarters on Sept. 6, 2006, he thought he was receiving information on a terrorist fugitive authorities wanted him to pursue.

But when he opened the door of a conference room on the building’s 10th floor, he found the two most powerful men in Chicago federal law enforcement: U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald and Robert Grant, special agent-in-charge of the Chicago FBI office. There was a leak in the witness protection program, they told Ambrose, and investigators had traced the breach to him.

On Monday, Fitzgerald and Grant took turns on the witness stand at Ambrose’s trial, testifying about what happened on that morning 2½ years ago. After being confronted with evidence, Ambrose admitted to telling a family friend about the valuable witness he had protected twice, both officials testified.

“He said, ‘I bleeped up, I shot my mouth off … but it’s not what you think,'” Fitzgerald quoted Ambrose as saying that day.

 Fitzgerald’s nearly four hours of testimony was the centerpiece Monday as Ambrose’s trial entered its second week. Ambrose stands accused of an unprecedented leak of information from the highly confidential witness-protection program while he served on the security detail of hit man-turned-witness Nicholas Calabrese in 2002 and 2003.

Attorneys for Ambrose tried to block Fitzgerald’s and Grant’s testimony in pretrial hearings, arguing that he was not read his Miranda rights before the 2½-hour interview. But U.S. District Judge John Grady ruled that Ambrose’s admissions that day were valid evidence, clearing the way for Monday’s high-powered testimony.

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