March 21, 2008

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to speak at SIUC

by Pete Rosenbery

Patrick Fitzgerald

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Federal prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald will offer his insight into public service and public corruption in a lecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, will present the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 27, at Shryock Auditorium. The lecture is free, and the public is encouraged to attend. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and Department of Political Science are sponsoring Fitzgerald's visit to campus.

Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald's lecture at Shryock Auditorium. For more information, contact institute assistant director Matt Baughman at 618/453-4001.

In two decades as a federal prosecutor, Fitzgerald has won cases against high-profile figures and government officials in cases ranging from public corruption to corporate fraud to terrorism and other violent crimes.

Appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in 2001, Fitzgerald's office — which includes 145 assistant U.S. attorneys — has overseen successful prosecutions of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on fraud and racketeering charges, and convictions of more than 75 other defendants, including more than 30 public employees and officials, in the "Operation Safe Road" investigation. Fitzgerald has also overseen a probe into the City of Chicago's Hired Truck Program — an investigation resulting in criminal charges against approximately 40 defendants — including approximately 20 current or former city employees.

Fitzgerald also served as special prosecutor in the case against former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby — convicted for obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI in connection with a probe into the leaked identity of former CIA official Valerie Plame.

"I'm looking forward to speaking with students and faculty at SIUC about the importance of public service and the public's role in contributing to law enforcement efforts against public corruption," Fitzgerald said.

Mike Lawrence, institute director, said, "We are indeed fortunate that Patrick Fitzgerald has agreed to share his insights on criminal activities that violate the public trust and threaten public safety. He is a prosecutor's prosecutor — perhaps the best in the nation."

Prior to being named U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Fitzgerald served 13 years in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, including chief of the Organized Crime-Terrorism Unit, where he participated in prosecutions in cases such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He also participated in the six-month trial against Gambino crime family members on charges including narcotics trafficking, murder, racketeering and jury tampering.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Fitzgerald joined the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan in 1988 after three years as a private attorney with a New York law firm. He earned his law degree from the Harvard School of Law in 1985, and a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from Amherst College in 1982.

The lecture series brings speakers to campus in the spring and fall of each year. SIUC alumnus Jerome M. Mileur, a native of Murphysboro, established the series in 1995 in honor of two of his political science professors —Ward Morton and David Kenney — who inspired him as a student. Mileur earned a bachelor's degree in speech in 1955 and a doctorate in political science in 1971 from SIUC. He became a professor emeritus in political science at the University of Massachusetts in 2004