Former federal judge Abner Mikva yesterday castigated prosecutors for making headline-grabbing remarks at press conferences before trial, potentially tainting the jury pool. The onetime chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and former White House counsel was speaking at the panel on public corruption investigations.
“The argument is made by some prosecutors that this is a part of a public information factor of a prosecutor’s job, and they have to do it,” Mikva said at the panel, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s nonsense.”
Mikva singled out U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for comments that the lead federal prosecutor in Chicago made at a press conference following the arrest in December of then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich before there was an indictment. Fitzgerald wasn’t on yesterday's panel, but he’ll be on one Saturday regarding a federal shield law for journalists. We’ll see if there’s an exchange of barbs then.