Should a U.S. Attorney come out with verbal guns blazing after making an arrest? Is it unfair to the defendant? Is it unfair to the public to keep quiet? Where’s the boundaries?
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH
Chicago Sun-Times Political Reporter
CHICAGO — Speaking to 200 lawyers from around the country Thursday, retired appellate Judge Abner Mikva criticized U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for showing a bit too much enthusiasm at a news conferences announcing charges against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“I certainly don’t like the prosecutor coming out and trying his case [in the media] and possibly tainting the jury pool with a big press conference announcing he has indicted so-and-so, or, in Blagojevich’s case, has arrested so-and-so — he hadn’t even reached an indictment yet,” Mikva saids at the American Bar Association convention.
“The argument is made by some prosecutors that this is a part of a public information factor of a prosecutor’s job, and they have to do it. That’s nonsense.”
Fitzgerald gained a reputation during his first seven years as U.S. attorney for avoiding colorful language at news conferences and refusing to entertain questions that fell outside “the four corners of the indictment.”
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