Patrick Fitzgerald Resigns

For better (he’s always been an aggressive, though usually fair, prosecutor) or for worse (I really believe he did try to hold Dick Cheney accountable for exposing Valerie Plame’s identity), Patrick Fitzgerald has resigned. And he’s a more honest prosecutor than a lot of the ones DOJ has these days.

From DOJ:

Attorney General Eric Holder issued the following statement today on the resignation of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald:

“Throughout his distinguished career as a prosecutor, United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has served the American people and the citizens of Illinois with the utmost integrity and a steadfast commitment to the cause of justice.

“From his early consequential years in New York City confronting the terrorist threat to his strong leadership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Pat has rightly earned a reputation over these last 24 years as a prosecutor’s prosecutor, overseeing significant cases involving public corruption, international terrorism and terrorism financing, corporate fraud, organized crime, and violent crime.

“A hallmark of Pat’s tenure has been his personal commitment to the Department’s mission and his willingness to accept the call of duty – whenever it came and whatever it required.   In 2003, he was appointed as special counsel in the investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a covert employee of the Central Intelligence Agency that resulted in the indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, then chief of staff and national security advisor to the Vice President.  He also served as lead counsel in the trial, which resulted in Mr. Libby’s conviction on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.  In 2010, I appointed Pat as Special Attorney to supervise the investigation that resulted in the pending indictment, in the Eastern District of Virginia, of former CIA officer John Kiriakou for allegedly repeatedly disclosing classified information, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities.

“Over the years, he has gained the trust of two presidents and the unwavering confidence of four Attorneys General, and I am deeply grateful to him for his service and his friendship over the years.”

I’ll update as I learn more. Though I will say the timing–just after the crackdown on the NATO protestors as terrorists–is curious.

Update: Per CBS (NDIL’s announcements are bloggered), he has no immediate employment plans. His resignation will be effective June 30.

22 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    Yeah, I had the same thought about the timing vis a vis the protests. That said, Fitz does not seem to have had much of a historical problem with the pseudo entrapment deals.

    Also, as Holder pointed out, Kiriakou came to mind. Wonder if some kind of conscience might have got to him on that? I very much doubt it. But it does all seem a little sudden….

  2. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: Dunno. Could be a range of things. The stuff in Chicago appears to go beyond pseudo entrapment. Plus, it’s one thing to work with informers, it’s another to prosecute as terrorists real protestors. Fitz knows what real terrorists are about, and these kids weren’t that.

    And maybe he finally found an IL public figure he wasn’t allowed to pursue?

    I doubt he has a problem with Kiriakou, though I think they always referred to that as ongoing. So it might be related.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Still do not get why Bush and Cheney did not have to testify under oath for their part in the outing of Plame? How Karl Rove got off. This man should be in an orange jump suit behind bars with the other two. Instead Rove is still out there poisoning our election system,

    The other night watched a two hour documentary on the Clinton years. The whole second hour was on the Ken Starr 4 year, 40 million dollar investigation into Clinton’s lies about blow jobs under oath. “4 years and 40 million” on lies under oath about Presidential bj’s by an intern.
    Sad to hear about Fitz’s resignation but how Cheney, Bush and Rove got by our so called justice system is such a huge shame. Will we ever know how much damage was done to national security because of the Plame outing?

    Do folks here think it is wrong to keep bringing up how the Obama administration has yet to prosecute one Wall Street bankster or foreclosure fraudster accountable? This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe they had author Charles Ferguson on to discuss his book “Predator Nation” Andrea Mitchell said there were “no laws on the books” to prosecute these thugs. Ferguson responded “forgive me but there are”

    Professor William Black finally made it on Chris Hayes Up program and has been talking about the lack of prosecutions

  4. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: Just saw Chicago’s WGN News at Noon (part of my cable package) and they had a pretty long segment on it leading the broadcast. They say there is no job he is going to just that “he plans to take some time off”. Last day will be June 30.

  5. bsbafflesbrains says:

    The Cabal wanted him out. Justice Department is in lock step with the Administration and they are in lock step with the 1%. Fitz out of step or just disgusted is my guess.

  6. karenjj2 says:

    Great admiration for Fitz! Amazed he held out this long during the corruption of the “dept of justice” into just another political tool of WH/usa, inc.

    entirely possible that the israeli citizen requested that he prosecute the “protestor terrorists.” that would be a “take this job and … “moment for sure.

  7. Jeff Kaye says:

    I don’t buy Fitzgerald had a conscience over the Chicago actions. Now, if he had a conscience attack over the Ali Mohamed affair, that would be something.

    Fitzgerald worked with Chertoff to prosecute the 1993 WTC bombing case. He must have known the role played by FBI informant Emad Salem, another informer who knew how to make a bomb. But when Salem was pulled by the FBI, even as the bomb was being constructed, the Blind Sheik called in KSM’s nephew (or so one version of the story goes — McDermott’s new book makes it appear WTC 1993 was Yousef’s deal all along, which manifestly it wasn’t).

    Maybe Fitz will tell all in his memoirs, which reportedly HarperCollins was ready to pay him a cool million for. Time to cash in?

    The vendetta against Kiriakou (a spin-off of the John Adams case) is evidence enough for me that despite his public persona, Fitzgerald is ready to do the dirty work of his (former) department.

    I understand the wish to see PF in the light of the Plame case, but he is a much bigger figure than that.

  8. joanneleon says:

    CBS in Chicago:

    He gained a reputation as a zealous prosecutor devoted to fighting corruption, although some critics questioned his strong choice of words, such as proclaiming in 2008 that Blagojevich had committed “conduct that would make President Lincoln roll over in his grave.”

    Last year, there were rumors that he might be appointed FBI director, but Robert Mueller remains in that position.

  9. Jeff Kaye says:

    Why don’t we write this as Fitzgerald’s political epitaph?

    Emad Salem to FBI Agent John Anticev: “… we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center [1993]. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the DA and we was all informed about it and we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful great case! And then he [FBI supervisor] put his head in the sand [i.e., pulled Salem off the case] I said “Oh, no, no, that’s not true, he is son of a bitch.” (Deep breath) Okay. It’s built with a different way in another place and that’s it.

    Doubt it? Listen to the tape yourself.

    The government has never denied this tape. In fact, portions were introduced in the trial of the Rahman and others later. Instead, since the New York Times first reported this, the story has been deep-sixed, left to the “conspiracy” crowd.

  10. Sparkles the Iguana says:

    As an Illinois resident I’ve long dreaded this day. The only thing that could revive me from my depression is the appointment of Patrick Collins (former AUSA under Fitz), now in private practice. He has a sterling reputation as a corruption fighter (he prosecuted Governor George Ryan) and I think he would take the job if he was offered it; he went to the private sector because he has four kids and needed the extra dough.

    I believe Fitz has expressed an interest in being FBI director. Honestly it’s very difficult for me to imagine him in the private sector. He’s such a government type of guy. He won’t run for office, though. He’s said he has no interest in that, and when he says it, you believe him.

  11. Sparkles the Iguana says:

    I’m also not clear on what this would have to do with the NATO protesters; they’re being charged under a state terrorism statute by the Cook County state’s attorney, not federal law.

  12. Morris Minor says:

    Didn’t this guy bring in Jose Padilla? I never understood the schoolgirl crushing at the Skeeter Libby hearings (I’m talking about, uh, somebody).

  13. orionATL says:

    fitzgerald made it clear (whether for show or not, i cant say) that he did not believe in using the office of prosecutor for pursuing political purposes. he may actually have taken to heart robert jackson’s words about the role and the charging options of a prosecutor.

    kiriakou should bother him. as should his previously stated questions about using the the intelligence identities protection act.

    if he would not pursue it with libby and cheney he might consider it hypocritical/political to pursue it with kiriakou.

  14. Skilly says:


    I always thought that there was something else entirely going on with that thing. True, he played rugby, which is always a good thing, but it is not a sport that generates many groupies. I was always under the impression that Fitzgerald was “giving previews” of inside stuff through “Loosehead prop” who, I was under the impression, used to work with him in while in NYC.
    I guess I got that wrong.

  15. orionATL says:

    in any event, the suddenness of his leaving (june 30) suggests a protest resignation, or something personal, like a serious illness.

  16. orionATL says:

    then there is the little matter of obama and some of his closest advisors having cut their teeth on chicago-style political corruption, which has been fitzgerald’s focus.

  17. bmaz says:

    @orionATL: Well, I have found no evidence of anything personally traumatic such as illness etc. Whatever it is, there are no visible signs of it being that.

  18. Bob Schacht says:

    @orionATL: This has got to be a protest resignation. I suspect that Fitz was blocked from doing something he wanted to do, or told to do something that he didn’t want to do. The idea that it has something to do with Chicago politics and Rahm Emanuel has some appeal, however.

    Bob in AZ

Comments are closed.