Prosecutor Fitzgerald Again at Center Stage

But in a move that suggests he's made time for matters outside of work, Fitzgerald married Chicago teacher Jennifer Letzkus earlier this year, leaving a trail of broken hearts for those who had hoped to snag one of People Magazine's "Sexiest Men of 2005."

Of that sexy superlative, the intensely private Fitzgerald told reporters at the time, "I've played a lot of practical jokes on people for a lot of years and they all got even at once. OK, new topic!"

And he has many other topics on which to focus his attention. After 13 years working as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York, former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill, who is no relation, suggested Fitzgerald for the job of U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The lawmaker tapped him as an outsider who could clean up corruption in Chicago.

President Bush appointed Fitzgerald to take the helm and oversee more than 300 employees, including 160 assistant U.S. attorneys. He started the job 10 days before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Chicago Corruption Specialist

In Chicago, Fitzgerald prosecuted the now-imprisoned Republican Gov. George Ryan of Illinois in a federal corruption case involving the sale of illegal state licenses. His office also handled the prosecution of publishing magnate Conrad Black, who was convicted on racketeering, fraud and obstruction of justice charges. On Tuesday, he added the current governor to his office's list of corruption targets.

But his work extends beyond the borders of the 18 counties in northern Illinois, which his office serves. Fitzgerald was appointed the special counsel in the CIA leak investigation, involving Valerie Plame, which resulted in the 2007 conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. A federal judge sentenced Libby to 2½ years in prison, but Bush commuted the sentence before he reported to prison.

With a prosecution that reached into the innermost circle of the White House came some intense criticism. Some said he was too harsh, allowing for the imprisonment of journalists, most famously former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who refused to comply with subpoenas they saw as unfair.

After a judge ordered Miller to jail for contempt of court in 2005, Times executive editor Bill Keller called the action "a chilling conclusion to an utterly confounding case." Miller later testified after working out an agreement with her then-confidential source Libby.

But another reporter caught up in the probe, who opted not to go to jail, acknowledged Fitzgerald's dedication to the case.

Matthew Cooper, the former Time Magazine reporter who was one of several reporters linked to the leak investigation, wrote an open letter to Blagojevich on his blog on Portfolio.com, "When I became a government witness, he interviewed me alone and knew the details of my case better than I did. He doesn't rely on a phalanx of aides, although he has them. He knows the case and will make the decisions himself."

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