U.S. District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is known as a tough, unrelenting prosecutor. It was Fitzgerald who prosecuted Scooter Libby, using the barest of trails of evidence. Fitzgerald does not, it seems, make many mistakes. All his moves are carefully calculated.
If all his moves are calculated, then his premature charges against Rod Blagojevich, and the press that followed, were very curious choices. Fitzgerald essentially ended his investigation early, and stopped any further illegal activity in its tracks. But, an actual crime is easier to prosecute than a conspiracy to commit a crime. Why stop this crime before it went any further? The only possible answer is that Fitzgerald did not want to investigate certain individuals. Someone was getting in too deep.
So who is Fitzgerald protecting? It certainly can’t be Blagojevich. He is in too deep to save. It isn’t Blagojevich’s chief of staff, he just isn’t important enough. The only reasonable assumption is that Fitzgerald is protecting either someone who would have paid for access (or “naming rights”) to the seat, or an aide to that someone. It is likely that someone was about to step over the line and Fitzgerald knew he had to stop it or face prosecuting a big name Democrat, one obviously much more important than Blagojevich.
If you doubt the scenario, ask yourself this. What prosecutor would stop a drug deal before the actual sale went down? What prosecutor would pass on the opportunity to gain more evidence, both against their primary target and other possible wrong doers? What prosecutor would risk their entire case by arresting a suspect before the actual crime was completed?
It is great that Patrick Fitzgerald wanted to charge Rod Blagojevich for these unthinkable crimes against democracy. But what is clearer is that it takes two, or more, to commit the crimes for which Blagojevich is charged. There is a man, or men, on the other side. Fitzgerald’s actions shielded those men from prosecution. We can only assume he knew what he was doing.