Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
On December 4, 2008 Chicago Tribune reporter John Chase called Governor Rod Blagojevich's press secretary, Lucio Guerrero, and informed him that the feds were recording the governor's conversations.
Question: Why did John Chase make that phone call?
Answer: Because U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wanted him to!
That's right. Fitzgerald used Chase to warn Blagojevich that the federal government was listening to his every word.
Question: Why would Fitzgerald derail his own investigation by revealing the wiretap?
Answer: To save him from having to arrest the co-chair of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Now that we know these facts, it is easy to understand why the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Randall Samborn, could not answer this simple question:
Did John Chase or anyone at the Chicago Tribune talk to anyone at the U.S. Attorney's Office about the Blagojevich wiretap on December 4, 2008 before he made the phone call to Lucio Guerrero?
Samborn's response: "No comment."
Well, if the U.S. Attorney's Office cannot answer "no" to that simple question - the answer is obviously "yes".
So on Dec. 9, 2008 during his press conference on Blago's arrest when Fitzgerald publicly thanked the Tribune for its cooperation in the Blagojevich investigation, he was essentially thanking the Trib for warning Blagojevich that the feds had a wiretap on him.
Remember this days from now when the three-judge panel in the Seventh Circuit Appellate Court tells us that Blagojevich's selling of Obama's Senate seat was just "political horse-trading".
That is exactly what they are going to say when they dismiss 12 of the 18 charges that sent Blago to prison for 14 years.
Keep this in mind: had Fitzgerald not told the Tribune to make that infamous phone call that shut down his own wiretap, Blago would have been caught red-handed selling a U.S. Senate seat and Jesse Jackson, Jr. would have been caught red-handed buying a U.S. Senate seat.
Both Blago and Jackson would now be singing like canaries... and that, as we all know, is the way to fight corruption in Chicago.
Obviously that did not happen.
Instead of fighting corruption, you could say that Fitzgerald's participation in this "political crime spree" would make Eliot Ness roll over in his grave.
Meanwhile, Tribune employees John Chase and Jeff Coen do a spot-on impression of deer caught in headlights when you ask them the simplest of questions pertaining to the events that unfolded on Dec. 4, 2008.
They, like the deer that freeze in the middle of the road when headlights hit them, are about to be run over. Metaphorically speaking, of course.