CHICAGO (CN) – Gary Shapiro will become Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois on July 1, when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald steps down.
Fitzgerald announced his departure in May, after 24 years with the Justice Department. He is Chicago’s longest-serving federal prosecutor. He gained national recognition for his successful prosecutions of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby,
Shapiro, 65, has been First Assistant U.S. Attorney for 14 years, and served was the department’s criminal chief for 6 years before that.
He cut his teeth as a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Chicago Strike Force, responsible for supervising federal investigations of organized crime in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Shapiro became Chief of the Organized Crime Section of the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1990.
In the past decade, Shapiro supervised Operation Family Secrets, which sent Chicago crime bosses Joey “The Clown” Lombardo and James Marcello to prison for life. He also prosecuted Harry Aleman, a Chicago mobster and hit man, and oversaw the racketeering trial of mob boss Ernest “Rocky” Infelise.
In the 1980s, Shapiro prosecuted Roy Williams, then president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, for conspiring to bribe then-U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada, to kill legislation to deregulate the trucking industry.
“Following Williams’ conviction and sentencing, he became the highest-ranking Teamsters official ever to testify against the mobsters who then controlled the Teamsters Union, and his cooperation contributed substantially to the subsequent convictions of the leaders of the organized crime families in Chicago, Kansas City and Cleveland for skimming millions of dollars from Las Vegas casinos,” the Justice Department said in a statement announcing Shapiro’s appointment.
Fitzgerald called Shapiro “a prosecutor’s prosecutor.”
“The office could not be in better hands,” Fitzgerald said. “As a trial lawyer and organized crime supervisor, he fearlessly pursued mobsters as well as corrupt politicians and union leaders in cases that were historic in significance.”
U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk are expected to appoint a six-member committee to select a short list of candidates, from which they will select their nominee to replace Fitzgerald on a permanent basis.