Seen by many as an untouchable agent of law and order in the mould of Eliot Ness, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, an jurisdiction that includes Chicago, is a straight-shooting lawman whose fearless commitment to the truth and unpartisan pursuit of criminals exemplifies the very best of American jurisprudence and Irish American values.
His successful prosecution this March of Lewis “Scooter” Libby in the so-called “Plamegate” affair demonstrated a conviction that no-one, especially those, in high office are above the law.
The former chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney was convicted of lying and obstructing a leak investigation into the “outing” of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
In July of this year, Fitzgerald, who celebrated his 47th birthday last weekend, focused his prosecutorial talents on disgraced publisher Conrad Black who, a jury subsequently decided, had been funding his lavish lifestyle with investors’ funds.
Fitzgerald has additionally led the charge in prosecuting corruption cases in the City of Chicago. He has secured the conviction of a senior employee in Mayor Richard Daley’s administration and initiated the ultimately successful prosecution of former Illinois Governor George Ryan.
In recent days, Fitzgerald’s office handed down indictments against the former top fundraiser of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
The son of immigrants from County Clare, Patrick Sr. and Tillie Fitzgerald, who made their home in Brooklyn’s blue-collar Irish American Flatbush area, Fitzgerald made his way to the top the hard way.
He first passed the entrance exam to the Jesuit Regis High School. After graduation he studied at math and economics Amherst and from there he moved to Harvard Law School.
Fitzgerald cut his prosecutorial teeth in some of the biggest cases of the 1990s, putting the mastermind behind the first World Trade Center bomb, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, behind bars.
Widely regarded as the nation’s top terrorism prosecutor, Fitzgerald makes no secret of his willingness to bring to trial the man he first investigated in the 1990s: Osama bin Laden.
“If there was a courtroom and they said someone has to stand up and try him, would I hesitate to volunteer? No!”