Prosecutor Fitzgerald Again at Center Stage

Several former Bush administration figures are alleged to have pushed for Fitzgerald's ouster, including former White House adviser Karl Rove. One former Justice Department aide admitted in congressional testimony that he labeled the federal prosecutor "undistinguished" during the run-up to the controversial firing of at least nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. Under questioning from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, at the 2007 hearing, Kyle Sampson admitted that he "immediately regretted" adding Fitzgerald's name to the list.

Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor and deputy co-counsel during the CIA leak investigation who is now a partner at the law firm DLA Piper, said of Fitzgerald, "All of the accolades are deserved, there is no hype."

"He is extremely smart. He is extremely hardworking. … It's the whole package," Zeidenberg said. "He has an incredible work ethic."

Although Fitzgerald's term as U.S. attorney is set to expire at the end of the Bush administration, officials and legal experts have speculated that Fitzgerald could become the chief of the Justice Department's Criminal Division or serve as the deputy attorney general; some also believe he could be appointed the next FBI director after Robert Mueller's term ends.

But Fitzgerald's tenure in Chicago might not end just yet -- Durbin, Illinois' senior senator, and the President-elect have expressed support for Fitzgerald's work as a prosecutor.

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