Let's Be Frank...
A federal jury Tuesday convicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the CIA leak, perjury trial. The conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide is the latest in a remarkable string of courtroom victories Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney in Chicago. He was named special prosecutor in the CIA case. ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie has more on Fitzgerald's amazing track record in this Intelligence Report.
Patrick Fitzgerald grew up playing an often bloody game called rugby. During rugby games, opposing players swarm over the ball and fight for possession in what is known as a scrum. For the last four months, Fitzgerald has been in Washington, in a legal scrum, and his competition has been some of the top criminal defenders in the nation. At the center of the scrum: the truth about the vice president's chief of staff. Tuesday afternoon, Fitzgerald emerged with the ball.
"Any lie under oath is serious. Any prosecutor would tell you in my days in New York, in my current days in Chicago, that we cannot tolerate perjury. The truth is what drives our legal system. If people don't come forward and tell the truth, we have no hope of making the judicial system work," said Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. special prosecutor.
Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is at the top of his game. Tuesday, he led the team that beat Scooter Libby's defense. After Fitzgerald's four year investigation, five month trial and 10 days of deliberations, Libby was convicted of one count of obstruction, two counts of perjury and one count of lying to the FBI about how he learned the identity of CIA official Valerie Plame and who he told.
Ron Safer is a former federal prosecutor in Chicago and now a top criminal defense lawyer. Despite Tuesday's conviction, an embarrassment to the Bush administration, Safer told the I-Team he thinks Fitzgerald will be U.S. attorney in Chicago through the rest of the Bush presidency but not to look for him ever as attorney general.
"He would be happy going back to being an assistant U.S. attorney," said Safer.
Fitzgerald proved that Libby learned about Plame from Vice President Dick Cheney, who counted Libby as his most trusted adviser. Libby then discussed her name with some reporters and concocted a story to cover-up those discussions when he realized that he was a target.
"I do not expect to file any further charges. Basically the investigation was inactive prior to the trial. I would not expect to see any further charges filed," Fitzgerald said.
"I was somewhat surprised to hear that and somewhat disappointed to hear that," said Safer. "The investigation was obstructed to some extent, as the jury found today, but that's not the nub of the case, and unfortunately they never got to the nub of the case."
When Pat Fitzgerald gets back to Chicago -- probably by car, he prefers to drive -- he will find a full plate on the desk of his office where he frequently dines and sleeps, starting with the Conrad Black/Sun-Times fraud trial, and then the Operation Family Secrets mob murder and rackets case.
The prize Fitzgerald would really like is leftover from his days as a terrorism prosecutor in New York: Osama Bin Laden.
And see President Bush keep his word and fire those responsible.
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