10/22/2005

Daily Kos: NYT: Political Firestorm Of No Concern To Fitzgerald

NYT: Political Firestorm Of No Concern To Fitzgerald
by MeanBoneII
Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 05:32:40 AM CDT

If you've been engaged in illegal activities, this guy has to be the LAST guy you want on your tail.
"I don't think the prospect of a firestorm would deter him," said J. Gilmore Childers, who worked with Mr. Fitzgerald on high-profile terrorism prosecutions in New York during the 1990s. "His only calculus is to do the right thing as he sees it."

Stanley L. Cohen, a New York lawyer who has defended those accused of terrorism in a half-dozen cases prosecuted by Mr. Fitzgerald, said he never detected the slightest political leanings, only a single-minded dedication to the law.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if he's found something, he won't be swayed one way or the other by the politics of it," Mr. Cohen said. "For Pat, there's no such thing as a little crime you can ignore."

Ruh roh, Raggy.

* MeanBoneII's diary :: ::
*

Fitzgerald appears to be quite well-versed in exactly what he's dealing with in this case.

In grand jury sessions, Mr. Fitzgerald has struck witnesses as polite and exacting. Matthew Cooper, a Time magazine reporter who wrote about his two and half hours of testimony, said that the prosecutor's questions were asked "in microscopic, excruciating detail."

Before he testified, Mr. Cooper recalled that Mr. Fitzgerald counseled him to say what he remembered and no more. "If I show you a picture of your kindergarten teacher and it really refreshes your memory say so," Mr. Cooper wrote, quoting Mr. Fitzgerald. "If it doesn't, don't say yes just because I show you a photo of you and her sitting together."

Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who wrote about her two grand jury appearances, said that Mr. Fitzgerald asked questions that reflected a deep knowledge of the leak case as he led her through her dealings with Mr. Libby.


And unlike other special prosecutors, he's actually done this before.

Republicans criticized Lawrence E. Walsh for his handling of the Iran-Contra scandal in the Reagan administration, while Democrats attacked Kenneth W. Starr's performance in the Whitewater probe and Monica Lewinsky sex scandal under President Clinton. The two prosecutors operated under the independent counsel law, which both parties let die in 1999.

Katy J. Harriger, a political scientist at Wake Forest University who has studied special prosecutors, said that Mr. Fitzgerald had some advantages over his predecessors. He has essentially all the powers of the attorney general to chase evidence, question witnesses and seek charges. Unlike Mr. Walsh and Mr. Starr, both former judges, Mr. Fitzgerald is a career prosecutor. And as a Bush administration appointee, he is less vulnerable to attack from the White House.

"It will be much harder than it was with Starr to say this is a partisan prosecution," Ms. Harriger said.

And what has to be of greatest concern to the White House, Fitzgerald doesn't miss the forest for the trees. He sees the big picture, with uncanny insight, and goes straight to the heart of the case.

"I've tried a lot of cases, and he's probably the toughest adversary I've ever seen," said Roger L. Stavis, a New York defense lawyer who faced Mr. Fitzgerald during the 1995 terrorism trial of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Mr. Stavis prided himself on knowing the web of Muslim extremists but was surprised when Mr. Fitzgerald asked a witness about Osama bin Laden, then an obscure figure.

"I thought, 'I don't know who Osama bin Laden is, but he's in Pat Fitzgerald's crosshairs,' " Mr. Stavis said. In 2001, Mr. Fitzgerald led the team that convicted four men in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa.

Make no mistake, Fitzgerald doesn't aim low. He knows the score, and he's the last guy in the world you want coming after you if you've been breaking the law and thought there was nobody who could enforce it.

Daily Kos: NYT: Political Firestorm Of No Concern To Fitzgerald

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