As the CIA leak investigation comes to a conclusion, America’s media have started to sell the public the man in the middle of the maelstrom, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Tonight, CBS News jumped on the bandwagon in a report filed by Jim Axelrod for “The Evening News” (video link to follow).
Like many such reports in the past week, Axelrod began by trying to dispel the notion that politics are in any way involved in this episode: “44-year-old Pat Fitzgerald, an intense and, by all accounts, apolitical prosecutor who's pursued mob bosses, crooked politicians, and Osama bin Laden like a pit bull with lockjaw.”
Axelrod even sought the opinion of a “liberal trial lawyer with no love for the Bush White House” who said of the possibility that no indictments will result from this investigation: “I can accept it from Pat because I trust him as a true patriot and as a professional prosecutor.”
Said Fitzgerald’s former employer, Mary Jo White, of the possibility that any indictments filed would be part of a political witch-hunt: “Hogwash, impossible. Pat Fitzgerald would never do anything except totally on the merits.”
Makes one wonder if the esteem the press have been affording this gentleman will continue if indeed no indictments result from this long investigation.
What follows is a full transcript of this report, and a video link.
Axelrod: When it came to picking a special counsel for the high stakes C.I.A. Leak case, it was a no-brainer says Pat Fitzgerald's former boss. What do Americans need to know about this guy as they are trying to make sense of this story?
White: What they ought to know, first of all, is they wish that this guy were cloned and every prosecutor in the United States could be just like him.
Axelrod: 44-year-old Pat Fitzgerald, an intense and, by all accounts, apolitical prosecutor who's pursued mob bosses, crooked politicians, and Osama bin Laden like a pit bull with lockjaw.
James Comey: I once told a Chicago newspaper that Pat Fitzgerald was Elliot Ness with a Harvard law degree and a sense of humor.
Axelrod: The man investigating some of the country's most powerful people grew up in working-class Brooklyn, the son of Irish immigrants. His dad was a doorman. Fitzgerald put himself through Harvard law. In a business where everyone works hard, his 100-hour workweeks were legendary-- sleeping in his office and not knowing if his own stove worked since he'd never turned it on. He was even rejected when he tried to adopt a cat: Not home enough.
Cohn: He's aggressive, but not overaggressive.
Axelrod: Even some you'd expect to be critics are fans. Fred Cohn, an adversary in an al Qaeda bombing case and a liberal trial lawyer with no love for the Bush White House, says even if Fitzgerald indicts no one...
Cohn: I can accept it from Pat because I trust him as a true patriot and as a professional prosecutor.
Axelrod: Of course Pat Fitzgerald will be criticized no matter what. If members of the administration end up indicted, and if their defenders say this was a political witch-hunt, what's your response to that?
White: Hogwash, impossible. Pat Fitzgerald would never do anything except totally on the merits.
Axelrod: And with what's hanging in the balance, what more can you ask for? Jim Axelrod, CBS News, New York.