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One convinced a jury to convict a deadly crew of drug dealers that plagued Washington, D.C., for more than a decade. Another helped nab two of the highest-profile spies in recent years. There’s the lawyer who took on a Chicago mobster and won, and the young prosecutor who helped disband a ring of exotic animal poachers in the Midwest. Then there’s Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor from Chicago who has led these and a handful of other attorneys in a massive investigation to determine who in the White House leaked the name of a covert Central Intelligence Agency operative to the media. The 22-month grand jury probe culminated Friday with the indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff, on one count of obstructing justice, two counts of perjury, and two counts of making false statements � all felonies. Just minutes after the charges were made public, Libby resigned from the White House. The indictment alleges Libby lied to the grand jury and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about how he acquired and subsequently disclosed information regarding the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media. President George W. Bush’s top aide and political strategist, Karl Rove, dodged indictment Friday, but whether he’s in the clear remains to be seen. Although the grand jury’s term has ended, the job is far from finished for Fitzgerald and his legion of lawyers in what’s escalated into the most high-stakes Washington investigation since the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. It’s a criminal investigation that reaches into the depths of the White House � an investigation that some say could irreparably harm an administration already dealing with mounting criticism on other fronts. During Friday’s press conference announcing the charges, Fitzgerald thanked his right-hand men and women, lawyers he acknowledges played vital roles during the investigation, albeit out of the public eye. Fitzgerald’s conservative critics began bashing him as partisan � despite his being appointed by an administration official � almost as soon as the indictment came down. Lost in the criticism, however, are the r�sum�s of his team, a group of career prosecutors without obvious political ambitions. JUSTICE LEAGUE Fitzgerald has been the face of this highly publicized probe, but he’s relied upon a small army of prosecutors from Washington and Chicago with an array of backgrounds and varying degrees of experience. He selected the Chicago contingent assisting him, while a few of the Washington players were already on the case before Fitzgerald was tapped to lead the probe, says Randall Samborn, spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel. Christopher Wray, former U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division chief, handpicked the Washington prosecutors prior to the appointment of the special counsel, says a former Justice Department official familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. When the Justice Department launched its investigation in the fall of 2003 to learn who leaked Plame’s identity, it was John Dion, head of the department’s counterespionage section, who led the charge until Fitzgerald � the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois � came on board as special counsel in December 2003. Fitzgerald was chosen by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who has since left the department. Plame’s identity and covert status were revealed in a piece by syndicated columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. The column cited two senior administration officials as sources, which sparked an uproar and an investigation into whether the White House released Plame’s name as retaliation for her husband Joseph Wilson’s criticism of the administration. Dion, a career prosecutor with the Justice Department since 1973, worked closely with FBI Special Agent John Eckenrode and other agents in the months following the leak. “I think of him as someone very wise and careful. Very well-respected by the intelligence community. That’s his bread and butter,” the former DOJ official says of Dion. Topping a long list of past career successes is Dion’s involvement in the prosecutions of infamous spies Robert Hanssen of the FBI and Aldrich Ames of the CIA. Nathan Muyskens, a partner with Troutman Sanders, says the counterespionage section is known for having career prosecutors such as Dion with great reputations. “He’s not someone who would ever be driven by any kind of political ambition,” says Muyskens, who served as an associate independent counsel in the case of former Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy. When Fitzgerald took over the reins of the investigation, Dion remained on the team, as did Ron Roos, Dion’s deputy, and Bruce Swartz, deputy assistant attorney general of the Criminal Division at Main Justice. Swartz is second-in-charge in the leak investigation, says Samborn, and he’s been “hands-on” throughout the case. Prominent among both politicians and law enforcement officials in Washington, Swartz frequently testifies at congressional hearings on national security matters. The former DOJ official says Swartz often travels abroad and serves as a sort of diplomat for the department with international counterparts. Although a few of Fitzgerald’s associates are prominent in their own circles, they haven’t made headlines for their work on this case. With a few exceptions, they have remained behind the scenes, rarely interacting with other attorneys representing key players in the probe. When asked what lawyers are assisting Fitzgerald on the case, Richard Sauber, attorney for Time reporter Matthew Cooper, responds, “I have no clue. I’ve only dealt with him.” Cooper initially was held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal the confidential source with whom he discussed Plame, but later agreed to testify. Floyd Abrams, attorney for New York Times reporter Judith Miller and the newspaper, concurred that he, too, dealt mainly with Fitzgerald. Miller served 85 days in jail before agreeing to testify about conversations she had with Libby regarding Plame. Despite their low profiles in the matter, Roscoe Howard Jr., former U.S. attorney for the District and current partner with Troutman Sanders, says the lawyers assisting Fitzgerald are good choices for the team. He says Swartz is especially qualified for the job, citing his extensive background. “He’s had to interface with the Hill and with the White House. He understands the nature and the sensitivity of this type of case,” Howard says, adding, “He’s the guy you turn to for the sage advice you want from an old Washington head.” Peter Zeidenberg, a Justice Department prosecutor with the public integrity section, brings to Fitzgerald’s team experience in high-profile cases involving public officials. Despite a recent failure to convict David Rosen � the former campaign finance director for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) who is accused of lying to the Federal Election Commission � his r�sum� includes a number of wins in other public corruption cases. Locally, he’s widely known as the prosecutor who, in the longest criminal trial in D.C. history, brought down the infamous K Street Crew, a gang of marijuana dealers known for killing witnesses. Also from Washington is Kathleen Kedian, a relative newcomer to the counterespionage section. Her role in the case involves handling much of the grunt work, like sorting through stacks of documents, says the former DOJ official. CHICAGO BULLS In Chicago, Fitzgerald has turned to a few key colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for advice and strategy in the investigation. At the top of the list is his deputy, Gary Shapiro, a more-than-three-decade veteran of the Chicago office. Known for his long hours and hard-nosed approach � and likened by some former colleagues to Fitzgerald � Shapiro made his name prosecuting mobsters, including Joseph “The Clown” Lombardo, convicted of bilking the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund in the 1970s and sent to prison in 1982 for a conspiracy to bribe then-U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon (D-Nev.). Fitzgerald also has relied on David Glockner, the head of the Chicago office’s criminal division. Aside from a clerkship with a Chicago judge, Glockner has spent his entire career � more than 15 years � in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Described as unassuming and even-keeled, Glockner is considered a meticulous prosecutor and has handled a wide range of fraud and corruption cases. His investigation led to the 1999 guilty plea of the then-mayor of the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park. “He’s the kind of guy that just grinds it out and he’s very diligent,” says Dean Polales, a former attorney in the Chicago office, now with Ungaretti & Harris. When reporters Miller and Cooper appealed a judge’s ruling ordering them to testify earlier this year, Fitzgerald called on two key Chicago attorneys to litigate the matter: James Fleissner, now a professor at Mercer University Law School in Georgia, and Debra Bonamici, an appellate specialist in the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office. Fleissner, the only member of Fitzgerald’s team not currently with the Justice Department, made his mark in Washington as a prosecutor in the trial of Henry Cisneros, housing secretary under President Clinton who ultimately pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about bribing a former mistress. Bonamici made a name for herself in Chicago after convicting members of an exotic animal ring, in which nearly two dozen tigers and leopards were killed for their skins. Now, with this grand jury’s investigation complete, it’s unclear how Fitzgerald’s network of deputies will factor into the special prosecutor’s plans. Michael Horowitz, former chief of the DOJ’s public corruption unit, says Fitzgerald probably will cut back his ranks. “At a trial I can’t imagine it will be more than two or three prosecutors at the most.” The most likely to remain on the case is Zeidenberg, says Horowitz, a litigator with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. “Peter has the advantage of knowing that courthouse. Pat hasn’t tried a case in D.C.,” he says. “There’s value in the fact that whatever judge he gets, Peter probably has gone before him.”
Legal Times senior reporter Vanessa Blum and reporter Emma Schwartz contributed to this article. Sarah Kelley can be contacted at [email protected].

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