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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bullseye on Blagojevich?

Let's play the game connect the dots? Do you know how Patrick Fitzgerald was unwittingly instrumental in putting Barack Obama on the brink of the Presidency? In 2001, Peter Fitzgerald (no relation) then U.S. Senator from Illinois chose Patrick Fitzgerald to be the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. This choice upset the Illinois political establishment, on both sides, quite a lot. Why? It's because Patrick Fitzgerald was an outsider and all indications were that he was a pretty straight prosecutor. This was a problem for the entire Illinois political establishment because that meant all of their malfeasance might actually come under scrutiny. Of course, in Illinois, there is all sorts of malfeasance among politicians. After choosing Fitzgerald, Peter Fitzgerald lost the support of the entire establishment. While he was wealthy enough on his own to run again, he simply didn't have enough support without the support of his party. As such, he decided not to seek reelection in 2004. This eventually opened up the door for Barack Obama to win the U.S. Senate seat and the rest is history.

Patrick Fitzgerald has been a relatively controversial prosecutor but that's mainly because for the most part, he has been doing his job. Fitzgerald has successfully prosecuted all sorts of folks close to both Chicago mayor Richard Daley and Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. His most recent high profile prosecution was of course that of Tony Rezko. Now, latest reports have Rezko beginning to talk.

Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a convicted influence peddler who was once one of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s most trusted confidants, has met with federal prosecutors and is considering cooperating in the corruption probe of the governor’s administration, sources told the Tribune.

Rezko’s possible change of heart—after years of steadfast refusal—has sent ripples through a tight circle of prominent defense attorneys who represent dozens of potential witnesses and targets in the wide-ranging probe.

His cooperation would give prosecutors investigating the governor and his wife access to someone they have described as an ultimate political insider at the center of a pervasive pay-to-play scheme.

Now, there is all sorts of speculation about whether or not Fitzgerald is targeting Blagojevich, Daley, and of course in the hopes of most Conservatives Barack Obama. In my opinion, Fitzgerald isn't targeting anyone. He will go where the evidence takes him. I am not so convinced that he would find any direct wrong doing by Daley himself. I believe that Daley leaves the direct wrongdoing to his underlings. I do believe that he will find plenty of wrongdoing on the part of Blagojevich. One thing is clear. Patrick Fitzgerald is the worst thing to happen to the Illinois political establishment in a long time. Peter Fitzgerald may have paid with his political career by choosing him, but I suspect he believes it was worth it.

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