Ex-Judge at ABA Criticizes U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald in Blagojevich Case

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?

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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