The process is under way to replace Patrick Fitzgerald as U.S. attorney for northern Illinois. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he spoke to Attorney General Eric Holder about the topic Thursday. “He believes, as I do, that we need to select a person who will continue this office so that there’s no interruption in the investigations and prosecutions under way,” said Durbin. “We are both relying on the recommendation of the outgoing U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald.”
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Durbin said Holder’s office already has a name Fitzgerald has recommended for the position of acting U.S. attorney, though Durbin would disclose neither the name of that person, nor whether that person currently works for Fitzgerald, who announced Wednesday he is leaving the office. Durbin says after then-U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald took the then-unconventional move of naming an out-of-state prosecutor to the post, he decided to interview Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation to the then-senator) for himself and came away impressed enough to recommend his continued employment to now-President Obama. Durbin says it will be difficult to name a permanent replacement until after the presidential election, but that he and U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) have agreed that the appointment will be subject to the approval of both senators, regardless of which party holds the White House.