Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reacts as he departs his Chicago home for Littleton, Colo., to begin his 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges Thursday, March 15, 2012. The 55-year-old Democrat becomes the second Illinois governor in a row to go to prison for corruption. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Another leading government attorney who helped prosecute former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is leaving the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago to become a private defense attorney.
In 12 years as a prosecutor, Chris Niewoehner played key roles in convicting onetime political insiders for corruption, including Tony Rezko and William Cellini.
He and his fellow assistant U.S. attorneys convicted Blagojevich of 18 corruption counts over two trials. Blagojevich recently began serving a 14-year prison sentence.
Niewoehner was among several younger lawyers former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald relied on to handle high-profile cases. Another was Reid Schar, who also recently left to join a law firm.
Niewoehner begins work soon on white-color cases from the Chicago office of Steptoe & Johnson. The law firm announced Niewoehner's hiring Thursday.