Much has been written about Karl Rove's role in both state and federal justice-related issues in Alabama. Now, it looks like Rove's tentacles might have reached into Illinois--at the time Chicago U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was investigating the Valerie Plame CIA leak case.
Newsweek's Michael Isikoff is reporting that Rove's name has surfaced in the trial of Chicago developer and political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko. The trial has been closely watched for any mention of Rezko's onetime friend, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. But Rove's name turned up instead.
A former Illinois state official is expected to testify that Rezko told him Rove was "working with" a top Illinois Republican to remove Fitzgerald.
This could have major implications for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and its investigation of the firings of U.S. attorneys at the Justice Department in 2006--and its inquiry into Rove's role in selective prosecutions by federal prosecutors.
Why did Rove want Fitzgerald out? The Newsweek story indicates Rove wanted a new U.S. attorney who would not pursue a corruption probe in Illinois.
But the timing of the alleged conversation is curious. It came in November 2004, weeks after Fitzgerald had subpoenaed Rove to testify for the third time in the Plame matter.
Is it possible that Rove actually had a highly personal reason for wanting Fitzgerald out of office?
Perhaps the Rezko trial will provide some answers.