Interesting from Editor & Publisher:
CHICAGO U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who ordered the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday morning, said at his office’s requst the Chicago Tribune agreed to delay publication of a story that the FBI was taping the governor.
Fitzgerald said the Tribune approached federal authorities to comment on the story. “I knew if that story was published, those bugs could not be planted,” Fitzgerald said. He asked the paper to delay publication, saying the delay would be in the “public interest.”
“This was an extraordinary request for us to make, and the Tribune was very gracious,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald noted that when the Tribune last week published the story that the governor was being taped by federal authorities, Blagojevich was intercepted telling an aide to “undo” a plan to solicit a bribe in connection with filling the Senate vacancy.
Tribune Editor Gerould W. Kern was not immediately available for comment, his office said.
Fitzgerald also said at the press conference in Chicago that he “lay awake at night” worrying that a Chicago Tribune editorial board member would be fired before the governor was taken into custody.
Fitzgerald was asked if the arrest of Blagojevich was timed because his appointment of a person to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama, the president-elect. Blagojevich is accused of soliciting bribes in connection with filling the seat.
Fitzgerald said that was one factor, but he was also concerned about a horse racing bill on Blagojevich’s desk that the governor was allegedly using to solicit a bribe — and by the fate of the Tribune’s deputy editorial page editor, John McCormick, and other members of the editorial board.