Attorney who prosecuted Headley resigns



Chicago: 
Patrick Fitzgerald, the tough-talking US Attorney who prosecuted a slew of
highly-publicised cases including those leading to the conviction of
Mumbai attack suspect David Headley and former Illinois Governor Rod
Blagojevich, has resigned. In his surprise announcement, 51-year-old
Fitzgerald, Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said he would
step down officially on June 30, and leave the Justice Department after
serving nearly 24 years.

Fitzgerald was appointed by former
President George W Bush and began serving in the post on September 1,
2001. He was kept on by President Barack Obama and ended up serving for
nearly 12 years, making him the longest serving US attorney ever in
Chicago. Fitzgerald praised the career attorneys in the Northern District
of Illinois, where he presides.


"I tried not to get in their
way," he said. Fitzgerald said he has no future employment plans and,
after this summer off, the father of two young children will "consider his
career options." The announcement came as a bit of surprise to Justice
Department officials who had been informed of his decision, CNN reported.





US Attorney General Eric Holder praised Fitzgerald for his commitment to
serve "the American people and the citizens of Illinois with the utmost
integrity and a steadfast commitment to the cause of justice." "Over the
years he has gained the trust of two Presidents and the unwavering
confidence of four Attorneys General, and I am deeply grateful to him for
his service and his friendship over the years," Holder said in a
statement.





Fitzgerald was leading the prosecution of Headley and Tahawwur Rana in
Chicago for participating in plotting the November 2008 terrorist attacks
in Mumbai and planning to attack a Danish newspaper. Fitzgerald first
became widely known when he participated in the prosecution of Omar Abdel
Rahman for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He also helped
prosecute the terrorism defendants tied to the 1998 bombings of the US
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.





He also prosecuted the case of Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor
who was convicted last year of corruption charges in connection with his
efforts to profit from appointing the successor to the US Senate seat
vacated by Barack Obama when he became president. Speculation about
Fitzgerald's future in legal circles has included the possibility of his
being named FBI director to succeed Robert Mueller, whose term expires in
September, though lucrative offers may be forthcoming from the private
sector, the CNN reported.





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