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Tag: Patrick Fitzgerald

Column: Could Blago Verdict Put U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Back in Running for FBI Director?

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s not that Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has to worry about his career.

But on Monday, he got some redemption when a federal jury convicted the ever-too chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 17 of 20 public corruption charges.

It was the second trial. The first had a rather embarrassing outcome. The jury convicted Blago on only 1 of 24 counts, and that was for lying  to the FBI, a charge that was not really central to the meat of the case.

What made matters worse, before the first trial, Fitzgerald held a press conference after arresting Blago in December 2008 and displayed a lot of swagger. Some thought he was a little over the top.

Could this redemption help Fitzgerald’s chances of becoming the next FBI director when the job comes up in a couple years?

Possibly.

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

He fits the bill. The White House tends to prefer someone with a law degree like the current director Robert S. Mueller III, who is expected to get a two-year extension on his 10-year term.

Before the White House decided to propose a two year extension for Mueller, it began looking for his replacement.

Initially, Fitzgerald’s was one of the names most often heard inside the Beltway.

But his swagger at the press conference and the dismal verdict seemed to sour some people.  His name seemed to fade.

With the latest results in the Blago case, who knows?

Maybe he’ll be back in the race for the FBI director job.

Whatever the case, at least he was able to finally back up the swagger he showed back at the press conference.

Column: What Does the Blago Verdict Mean for Chicago U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald?

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Soon we’ll get the verdict in the Blago II trial and we’ll start to evaluate what it means for Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. The jury begins the fifth day of deliberations on Thursday.

The first trial did not bode so well for Fitzgerald, the rock star among U.S. Attorneys. The jury convicted ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on only 1 of 24 counts — and that was for lying to the FBI. It wasn’t even a count central to the key charges of shaking down folks and trying to sell President Obama’s Senate seat.

Some argued it was still a victory — particularly those who know Fitzgerald well. They said a felony conviction is a felony conviction, even if it’s on just one count.

I disagree. I say in order for this to be considered a victory for Fitzgerald and his prosecutors, they have to get a conviction on a central count. A conviction on key counts would provide some vindication for Fitzgerald.

What would another embarrassing outcome mean for Fitzgerald?

Probably not a whole lot.

Another embarrassing outcome might tarnish his star power a little. But people forget. And he’s had a lot of big victories in big cases in Chicago. And no one can forget that he came to Washington for a stint as  a dragon slayer — as a special prosecutor —  and convicted Scooter Libby in 2007.

The first Blago trial may have hurt his chances when the White House was recently  considering a replacement for FBI Dir. Robert S. Mueller III (though that has become a moot point since President Obama now wants to keep Mueller on for two more years beyond the 10-year term).

Interestingly, FBI agents who, in general, prefer an ex-agent as a director rather than a prosecutor — seemed Ok with Fitzgerald as a potential replacement.

Nonetheless, the talk inside the Beltway was that the White House wasn’t wild about  the swagger — very Eliot Ness like — that he displayed before the media  when he first announced the charges against Blago in December 2008.

The swagger along with the embarrassing outcome didn’t help. This White House seems to like Robert Mueller’s low-key, fly-under-the-radar style.

So in the end, whatever the outcome in Blago II, Fitzgerald will remain the U.S. Attorney in Chicago.

And frankly, whatever the outcome,  the Blago case won’t short circuit many of his options in the future –including, who knows, even  a run for governor, the office once held by Blago himself.

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Called Rahm Emanuel in 2008 the Day Gov. Blago Was Arrested

Rahm Emanuel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s nice to get a courtesy call from time to time.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that’s just what Rahm Emanuel got from Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald the morning that Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested in Dec. 9, 2008. Emanuel had been selected as President-elect Obama’s chief of staff.

Sun-Times reporter Natasha Korecki reported that Fitzgerald wanted Emanuel to know his name was expected to show up in a criminal complaint filed against the governor.

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

“Members of the U.S. attorney’s office called a series of people to let them know an arrest had been made,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar told the Sun-Times.

Emanuel was never accused of wrongdoing.

DEA’s Joseph Evans Who Heads Up Mexico Operation Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year

Joseph Evans/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2010.

Faced with one of the more daunting tasks in  the DEA — battling the violent Mexican Drug Cartels — Evans is credited with developing key partnerships with the Mexican Federal Police and the Mexican government. He is known as an innovative leader and is well respected among colleagues.

A 19-year veteran of the DEA, he was assigned to the Mexico City post in October 2009. The DEA credits his partnership with helping apprehend or kill several key drug kingpins including Arturo Beltran Leyva, Harold Mauricio Poveda Ortega and Narario Moreno Gonzalez.

His area of responsibility also includes Central America and Canada.

The former Marine previously worked for the DEA in Miami, New York, Panama, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

The Fed of Year in 2008 was Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. In 2009, the award went to Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI.

Blago Begins Round 2: Has No Intention to Seek Plea

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Washington Post Editorial: U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Should “Back Off” Retrying Blagojevich

fitzgerald-gov arrestBy The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — U.S. ATTORNEY Patrick J. Fitzgerald should back off his vow to retry former governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.).

With moral thunder in December 2008, the aggressive prosecutor declared that the state’s chief executive was nabbed “in the middle of what we can only describe as a public corruption crime spree.”

Mr. Fitzgerald added, “The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.” Yet on Tuesday, 20 months later, a federal jury was unmoved. In an extraordinary rebuke, Mr. Blagojevich was convicted on only one of 24 counts against him.

Mr. Fitzgerald brought unlimited resources and the power of the federal government to the case against Mr. Blagojevich.

To read more click here.

The Blagojevich Case: Who Won?

blago on kingBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

At first blush, Rod Blagojevich appeared almost Houdini-like, slipping out from under a weight of charges that seemed almost certain to bury the former Illinois governor.

A federal jury in downtown Chicago convicted him Tuesday on only one of 24 corruption counts — one that involved lying to FBI agents in 2005. It deadlocked on the 23 others, including a key one — that Blagojevich had tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Blagojevich vowed to appeal what he called the “nebulous” one count, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. The jury deadlocked on all four charges against his brother Robert.

But did he really win? And did the prosecution lose? Depends who’s talking.

“There’s no doubt they brought 24 charges hoping to get 24 convictions,” former District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard Jr., a friend of Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, told AOL News. “But they have a conviction. If you’re the former governor and you now have a felony conviction, that’s a bad situation.”

To read more click here.

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald’s Star Reputation on Line in Blago Trial

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

When he announced the charges in late 2008, Chicago’s U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, came at Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich with all the bravado of Eliot Ness going after Al Capone in the movie “The Untouchables.”

He told a throng of reporters that Blagojevich had embarked on a “corruption crime spree” and added, with a touch of the melodramatic, that the Democratic governor’s crimes “would make Lincoln turn over in his grave.” Blagojevich responded by hitting the talk show circuit, calling the charges unfounded and criticizing Fitzgerald.

Now, 20 months later, Fitzgerald’s bravado and stellar reputation are being tested in the public corruption trial of Blagojevich. After 12 days of jury deliberations, the outcome seems more uncertain than ever.

On Thursday, the jury informed U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel that they had reached agreement on just two of 24 counts, and that they could not reach a decision on 11. To boot, they said they hadn’t even gotten to the other 11 counts of wire fraud. The judge directed them to keep deliberating. The jury took Friday off and returns Monday.

To read full story click here.

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