The Corner

Fitzgerald

To my good friend Andy McCarthy, I have worked with 93 United States Attorneys during 3 1/2 years as chief of staff at the Justice Department, and they come in varying degrees of competence and wisdom. So, while I have been deferential to your assessment of Patrick Fitzgerald, I cannot suspend judgment until trial. I am well aware that indictments mean investigations are ongoing. In fact, investigations continue through trials, where new evidence may come forward and can still be used against a defendant. That’s not the point. I have dealt with prosecutors who understood the bigger picture too, i.e., that there’s a point at which you don’t keep hunting and pressing in hopes of finding inconsistencies in testimony or other evidence that were not the basis of the investigation in the first place. Can a prosecutor conduct himself that way? Yes he can. But I don’t have to applaud it, either. Clearly neither Rove nor Libby have been given a pass. In fact, most citizens are not the subject of investigations by specially appointed prosecutors. And the reaons Congress let the Independent Counsel Act lapse was because of this very problem, i.e., prosecutors persisting without concern for the larger impact. They’ve been investigated for nearly two years, and I am sure they are much the poorer for it. But prosecutors can also issue no bills and statements that end investigations of individuals as well, and they do it all the time. Despite all the media stories comparing Fitzgerald to Eliot Ness, the court is still out, as far as I am concerned, and for what it’s worth. This is not the crime of the century. In fact, it is a fairly straightforward case.

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