Longtime federal prosecutor Gary Shapiro has been named the acting replacement for Patrick Fitzgerald, the outgoing Chicago U.S. Attorney.
Shapiro, the First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office for the past 14 years, had been mentioned by most news reports as a likely replacement for Fitzgerald since the U.S. Attorney announced he was stepping down last month. Shapiro, the office’s No. 2, has nearly 40 years of experience as a federal prosecutor, according to a statement released by the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Shapiro, 65, served as the office’s Criminal Chief for six years before becoming the First Assistant in 1998. He has worked on terrorism, public corruption, corporate fraud and organized crime cases, among others, according to the statement. He has served as a federal prosecutor since 1972, and from 1984 to 1990 he was placed in charge of all organized crime prosecutions in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Rice University and University of Texas Law School.
Meanwhile, Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) announced Monday they will appoint a six-member committee to search for a full-time replacement. Committee members will likely be named in the next few days, according to the AP report.
During his 11-year tenure, Fitzgerald gained star status for his high-profile prosecutions of public officials. He took down former Illinois governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, in public corruption cases. He was also in charge of the prosecution of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who served as the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. More recently, Attorney General Eric Holder told members of Congress not to worry about his U.S. Attorney appointees in the national leaks investigation because they are of the mold of Fitzgerald.
While his career plans after Friday are as of yet unclear, Fitzgerald has said he has no plans to seek elected office.