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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blago and Fitzgerald

Lead largely by the likes of Laura Ingraham much of the national press has tried to frame the Rod Blagojevich trial as the defining moment for US Attorney Pat Fitzgerald. With the embarrassment of a mostly hung jury, many of the same folks now are attempting to paint Fitzgerald as a largely failed prosecutor.

Most of it is total nonsense. First, the Blagojevich trial is important largely in the media only. Blago was never an important figure politically or to ending the corruption in this state. He was always a buffoon and that's how most approached him. In fact, the profile of the trial was raised almost entirely by Blagojevich himself. By going on the Apprentice, his wife on Survivor, along with the whirlwind media tour, Blagojevich raised the profile of his trial.

That still doesn't make it the end all be all. Here in Illinois insiders called Jim DeLeo the shadow governor and most considered him significantly more powerful. So, bringing down Blago wouldn't have brought down anything close to the most powerful player in Illinois politics. In fact, a case could be made that by taking down both Tony Rezko and Bill Cellini that Fitzgerald did significantly more to damage the power base than a Blagojevich conviction.

Beyond that, Fitzgerald also has the convictions of Robert Sorich in the Hired Truck Scandal under his belt. Operation crooked code lead to significant convictions in Chicago's long corrupt Department of Buildings. Alderman Ike Carothers was rececntly convicted of taking bribes. Furthermore, Fitzgerald landed a significant blow to the Outfit with the conviction and subsequent indictment of Lt. Rudy Fratto. Conrad Black was also convicted of fraud.

Furthermore, Fitzgerald was the special prosecutor that got the conviction of Scooter Libby. Finally, Fitzgerald has achieved convictions against not one but two former Governors of Illinois.

In fact, Fitzgerald has received criticism from all quarters. Conservatives don't like him for the aggressive prosecution of Libby. Civil rights folks think he's too aggressive. One criticism you won't hear about Fitzgerald is that he's not trying hard enough and to me that's the sign that he's doing a great job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. Fitzgerald has attacked corruption in the public & private sector. Didn't Sen. DeLeo just "retire"? A coincidence i'm sure NOT related to Fitzgerald. Right