After practicing civil law, Fitzgerald became an Assistant United States Attorney in New York City in 1988. He handled drug-trafficking cases and in 1993 assisted in the prosecution of Mafia figure John Gotti, the boss of the Gambino crime family. In 1994, Fitzgerald became the prosecutor in the case against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others charged in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
In 1996, Fitzgerald became the National Security Coordinator for the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. There, he served on a team of prosecutors investigating Osama bin Laden. He also served as chief counsel in prosecutions related to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
On September 1, 2001, Fitzgerald was nominated for the position of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois on the recommendation of U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald (no relation), a Republican from Illinois. On October 24, 2001, the nomination was confirmed by the Senate.
STATEMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL
Statement of Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald regarding today's decision by President Bush to commute the 30-month prison sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby:
"We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.
We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as "excessive." The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
Although the President's decision eliminates Mr. Libby's sentence of imprisonment, Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process."
From the Federal Pardon Guidelines:
Sec. 1.3 Eligibility for filing petition for commutation of sentence.
No petition for commutation of sentence, including remission of fine, should be filed if other forms of judicial or administrative relief are available, except upon a showing of exceptional circumstances.