As readers may recall, before the Blago verdict, we reported about Fitzgerald's Assistant U.S. Attorney who was involved in prosecutorial misconduct and allowed a government witness to testify falsely. In addition, we raised the profile of a controversial developer who accused Fitzgerald's staff of wanting him to lie on the stand. When he refused, the developer allegedly was framed and charged with obstruction of justice charges.
But the fallout on Blago is coming from conservative, national, and traditionally Rove Republican publications.
Having failed to secure a conviction on 23 of 24 charges filed, a Wall Street Journal editorial published today called for Fitzgerald's resignation or removal:
Blagojevich may or may not be corrupt, though he has repeatedly proved his stupidity. In any event, Mr. Fitzgerald’s legal team failed to persuade a jury that Blagojevich was guilty of racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion, kickback schemes and a litany of other crimes, despite five weeks of argument and testimony that included incriminating selections from thousands of wiretapped phone calls. The defense did not call a single witness. The jury also deadlocked on four charges against Blagojevich’s brother, while his chief of staff earlier copped a plea.
If Mr. Fitzgerald doesn’t resign of his own accord, the Justice Department should remove him—especially after such other recent examples of prosecutorial bad faith or bad judgment involving Blackwater contractors in Iraq, the forgotten backdating accounting scandal and the late Senator Ted Stevens. Prosecutors have vowed to retry Blagojevich this fall on the other 23 mistrial counts. But if he really is guilty, then incompetence alone is grounds for Mr. Fitzgerald's removal.