Blago’s Bid to Bounce Fitzgerald May Falter; Disputed Comments Aside, Motion a Longshot
January 26, 2009
CHICAGO-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers hoped to bounce U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald from the governor’s case. Blagojevich’s team, led by Chicago criminal defense attorney Edward Genson, cited Fitzgerald as saying: “Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low. [He] has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption spree.” Fitzgerald’s references to the governor being innocent until proven guilty sounded insincere in the context of the other remarks, Blagojevich’s lawyers said in the filing.
The defense filed a motion on Jan. 5 seeking to have Fitzgerald and all assistant U.S. attorneys in the Northern District of Illinois office recused from the prosecution. The defense argued that Fitzgerald and other federal agents illegally released intercepted communications at the widely broadcast Dec. 9, 2008, press conference and violated professional ethics barring prosecutors from pretrial remarks that could taint a future jury. U.S. v. Blagojevich, No. 08-1010.
Though he stated that the defense’s motion had little chance of success, Kurt Stitcher, Chairman of LP’s Litigation Practice Group, agreed that some of Fitzgerald’s comments were inappropriate. “Some of those comments were over-the-top, unnecessary and arguably violative of the various ethical rules cited in Blagojevich’s motion.”
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The National Law Journal, Volume 31; Issue 21, Copyright 2009 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Lynne Marek, Staff Reporter