Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Did the Tribune Rescue Blago from Jail?

One of the questions surrounding the case of the corrupt Illinois governor is why the investigation didn't wait until Blagojevich actually sold the senate seat, thus giving the prosecution a stronger case.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the reason is the Chicago Tribune blew the investigation:
Members of Fitzgerald's team are livid the scheme didn't advance, at least for a little longer, according to some people close to Fitzgerald's office. Why? Because had the plot unfolded, they might have had an opportunity most feds can only dream of: A chance to catch the sale of a Senate seat on tape, including the sellers and the buyers.

The precise timing of Tuesday's dramatic, pre-dawn arrest was not dictated by Fitzgerald, nor was it dictated by the pace of Blagojevich's alleged "crime spree." It was dictated by the Chicago Tribune, according to people close to the investigation and a careful reading of the FBI's affidavit in the case.

At Fitzgerald's request, the paper had been holding back a story since October detailing how a confidante of Blagojevich was cooperating with his office.

Gerould Kern, the Tribune's editor, said in a statement last week that these requests are granted in what he called isolated instances. "In each case, we strive to make the right decision as reporters and as citizens," he said.

But editors decided to publish the story on Friday, Dec. 5, ending the Tribune's own cooperation deal with the prosecutor.
Note that this is the same prosecutor (Fitzgerald) who nailed Scooter Libby for muddying the waters in the whole Valerie Plame case. Does anyone think the Tribune will get into trouble for their actions?

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