Prosecutor Fitzgerald Again at Center Stage

He's brought down governors, prosecuted terrorists, investigated the CIA leak scandal and made a famous list of "sexiest men."

It's no wonder top career officials at the Justice Department admitted to ABC News that they'd like to clone U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

He's handled some of the most high profile cases at the Justice Department and is widely known for his intense work ethic. On Monday, the 47-year-old Fitzgerald was before the American people again, telling reporters during a news conference -- shown live across the country -- that an investigation conducted through his office had caught Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, "in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree."

Among other things, Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell President-elect Obama's former U.S. Senate seat in exchange for political favors and contributions. It was conduct, Fitzgerald said, that "would make Lincoln roll over in his grave."

The son of Irish immigrants, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native worked as a doorman and a janitor to pay his way through college. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College in 1982 and proceeded to Harvard Law School, obtaining his degree in 1985. Fitzgerald joined the Justice Department in 1988, after three years at the New York law firm Christy & Viener.

He rose through the ranks at Justice, prosecuting mob and terrorism cases at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan. He worked on the case of the "Blind Sheikh," Omar Abdel Rahman, and other defendants in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, and oversaw the investigation of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

An 'Elliot Ness' Kind of Career

Fitzgerald also worked on the government's case against Osama bin Laden. When he wasn't tracking terrorists, Fitzgerald still found time for organized crime, working on the 1993 trial of John Gambino, part of the larger investigation of the Gambino crime family.

His workaholic approach and long hours have become legend in legal circles. One career Justice Department employee told ABC News he only knew Fitzgerald's office phone number, because he was always there, even on Sundays.

A Chicago Magazine profile of Fitzgerald in 2002 bolstered that impression, noting that even after eight years in his former Brooklyn condo, he hadn't called a utilities company to have the gas switched on.

But the long hours have taken their toll, at least on his past pets, according to one anecdote from the same Chicago Magazine article, which has become Justice Department legend.

"To teach him a lesson about the dangers of leaving his cat alone while he hotfooted it around the globe chasing terrorists, Fitzgerald's colleagues on an anti-terrorism task force once kidnapped the cat and took snapshots to show Fitzgerald some possible endings for the poor creature: holding the cat off the Brooklyn Bridge, putting a gun to its head and visiting a Chinese restaurant," the magazine reported.

Asked to confirm the cat-napping operation one longtime Fitzgerald associate from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York told ABC News, "Some secrets I take to the grave." As for the cat, the magazine said it ultimately ended up on a farm.

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