By Lark Turner
Chicago's top prosecutor admits he's a "math geek", but told a group of state's attorneys Thursday that until he worked on the Rod Blagojevich trial, he never realized the giant leap between 11 and 12.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald cracked the joke in reference to Blagojevich's first trial, which ended with a hung jury when one juror refused to convict the former governor on charges he tried to sell or trade a U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich was convicted of those charges and others Monday when a new jury returned a verdict, finding Blagojevich guilty of 17 of the 20 counts against him.
"I was a math geek and a major in college, and I never knew the difference between 11 and 12 could be so great," Fitzgerald told the laughing crowd attending a State's Attorney's Association conference at Chicago's Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan Ave. "Eleven to one, twelve to zero, oh boy, there's a huge difference."
Fitzgerald praised the legal team, noting how hard they had worked on both trials. He said he was "grateful" his prosecutors came away with so many convictions.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez introduced Fitzgerald at the conference, asking for a round of applause for his "big verdict." She spoke about her time working with Blagojevich when the two were partners as assistant state's attorneys "way back when," which Blagojevich mentioned on the stand.
"We technically we were partners," she said sarcastically. "I say that because he tended to disappear and you had to do the call without him!"