Patrick Fitzgerald will leave office with a trail of political scalps and plenty of politicians who have been looking over their shoulders for more than a decade. Phil Rogers reports.
For the last time in the immediate future, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald addressed the media Thursday, the morning after announcing his resignation.
Fitzgerald wouldn't comment on speculation about becoming director of the FBI but said he keeps hearing from the media that he is "on some kind of short list," a list he says he hasn't seen.
"Public service is in my blood," Fitzgerald said. He said if he got a phone call and "public service" was on the caller I.D., "I'd take the call."
Fitzgerald, known for bringing down corrupt politicians including former governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, thanked the 300-person team behind his office.
"There are a lot of people behind me and have been behind me the last 10 years," he told the media.
Fitzgerald gave no reason Wednesday for stepping down and said only in a statement that he extends his "deepest appreciation to the attorneys and staff for their determined commitment to public service."
In lieu of an explanation, he said Thursday, "I thought this was the right time."
Still unanswered is what's next for him and the department. When asked about his next role, Fitzgerald said Thursday, "I don't know."
It's clear the job offers likely will be there.
"Every law firm in the country will be lining up to say, 'Come with us,'" said former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas. "Pat would be a brilliant director of the FBI, and if there's a president in office who thinks he would be a great attorney general, I'd be absolutely supportive of him."
Fitzgerald said Wednesday he had no job lined up and plans to take the summer off.
His resignation is effective June 30.