WASHINGTON (STMW) — The U.S. Senate confirmed Zachary Fardon as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois late Wednesday, filling the vacancy created when Patrick Fitzgerald stepped down, the Sun-Times is reporting.
Earlier in the day, Chicago’s last two top federal prosecutors criticized the “short term” approach to the gun violence plaguing the city and warned that Fardon can’t be expected to solve a decades-old problem.
Patrick Fitzgerald and Scott Lassar mounted an impassioned defense of the U.S. attorney’s Chicago office Wednesday, saying it has for years quietly gone after the most violent gang leaders.
Though Fitzgerald and Lassar are now both in private practice, their arguments mirror those made privately by current federal prosecutors and could be read as an implicit criticism of Sen. Mark Kirk’s recent call for the U.S. attorney’s office to lock up 18,000 members of the Gangster Disciples street gang, and of previous signals from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his predecessor suggesting the feds aren’t doing enough to tackle street violence.
Speaking at a Legal Aid Society event at Palmer House hosted by Fardon, Fitzgerald, Chicago’s top federal prosecutor from 2001 to 2012, said, “I think people don’t realize how many resources are spent in the federal prosecutor’s office on guns, gangs and violence compared to say, corruption. . . . Ten times as many resources go to narcotics, gangs and violence.”
Lassar, who led the prosecutors’ office from 1997 to 2001, also said that the feds’ best efforts are “not going to make a big impact, unfortunately. . . . The fact is that there’s a culture of violence and most of these murders that occur are over nothing,” he said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)