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US Attorney Fitzgerald, prosecutor of Blagojevich, Ryan to step down

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
(Official Department of Justice Photo/via Wikimedia Commons)
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Some reporting also via Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Updated 1:31 p.m. with statement from current Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.

The man whose prosecutions helped put two Illinois Governors (George Ryan and then Rod Blagojevich) in prison has announced he's stepping down.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald's office made the announcement today, effective June 30.  He's been in the position since 2001.

“When I was selected for this position in 2001, I said that it was one of the greatest opportunities that one could ever hope for, and I believe that even more now after having the privilege of working alongside hundreds of dedicated prosecutors and agents," Fitzgerald said in a press release. "I have tried not to get in their way. I extend my deepest appreciation to the attorneys and staff for their determined commitment to public service. This was a great office when I arrived, and I have no doubt that it will continue to be a great office."

Current Illinois Governor Pat Quinn commented on Fitzgerald's announcement:

“I thank Patrick Fitzgerald for all the hard work he and the U.S. Attorney’s office have done to root out and prosecute corruption in Illinois.” “He has made Illinois a more ethical state by bringing justice to those who betrayed the public’s trust. “On behalf of the people of Illinois, I hope his successor will live up to the high standard he has set for all public officials.”

As for his future career plans? And why he's stepping down? No word on those yet from the 51-year-old, but Fitzgerald says he'll take the summer off - and will answer questions from reporters tomorrow. 

We'll keep you updated.