Wednesday, May 23, 2012

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald To Quit On June 30

May 23, 2012 - U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald will step down on June 30, reports CBS2 Chicago. "He took over on Sept. 1, 2001, making him the longest-serving U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He became a national celebrity for going after political corruption in Illinois. Most notably, he led the prosecutions of both Gov. George Ryan and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who are both serving time in prison."

Fitzgerald is, until June 30, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

This morning's official press release from the U.S. Department of Justice said, "Mr. Fitzgerald notified the White House, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Sens. Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk this morning of his decision to step down from the presidentially appointed post that he has held since Sept. 1, 2001, making him the longest-serving U.S. Attorney ever in Chicago. Mr. Fitzgerald, 51, has no future employment plans and will take time off this summer before considering career options. Including his tenure as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York, Mr. Fitzgerald is leaving the Justice Department after nearly 24 years."  See the entire statement here (pdf).

The release also noted that Fitzgerald served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, where he took part in the prosecution of United States v. Osama Bin Laden, et al., "involving the August 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the trial of United States v. Omar Abdel Rahman, et al., involving the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and a plot to bomb other New York landmarks." You can see Fitzgerald's official biography here.

 "Fitzgerald has been the longest serving U.S. attorney in Chicago history," says the Chicago Tribune today, "holding the office for more than 10 ½ years."

Greg Hinz at Crain's Chicago Business makes a good point about Fitzgerald's departure: The political games that will surely be played in the effort to replace the irreplaceable crime fighter:

"The question now," ponders Hinz in his column today, "is who President Barack Obama will select for this extraordinarily sensitive job — and whether Senate confirmation will come before the November election."