Calling him an "unaccountable federal prosecutor run amok", the Wall Street Journal says Patrick Fitzgerald should resign as a U.S. prosecutor or be removed by his superiors:
As the former Justice Department lawyer Victoria Toensing noted in these pages at the time, Mr. Fitzgerald violated prosecutorial ethics by speaking "beyond the four corners of the complaint," to use the criminal law vernacular for the facts at issue, thus possibly tainting the jury pool.
But then, this was merely one of Mr. Fitzgerald's extrajudicial public declarations. Another notable episode occurred during his pursuit (as special prosecutor) of former Vice Presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame affair. At a 2005 press conference, Mr. Fitzgerald implied that Mr. Libby had obstructed his investigation into who leaked the former CIA analysts's name, even though he knew from the start that the real "leaker" was Richard Armitage.
Then there was the railroading of Conrad Black, the conservative newspaper baron who was convicted in 2007 using the infinitely malleable "honest services" fraud law. The Supreme Court junked much of that law earlier this year, leading to Mr. Black's release from prison. The jury had earlier dismissed nine of the 13 charges Mr. Fitzgerald filed.
This pattern points to a willful prosecutor who throws an exaggerated book at unpopular defendants and hopes at least one of the charges will stick, even as he flouts due process and the presumption of innocence when the political winds are high. If Mr. Fitzgerald doesn't resign of his own accord, the Justice Department should remove him-especially after such other recent examples of prosecutorial bad faith or bad judgment involving Blackwater contractors in Iraq, the forgotten backdating accounting scandal and the late Senator Ted Stevens.