U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
CHICAGO (CNN) – The straight-laced, gray-suited, famously reticent lawman, who convinced a jury to find "Scooter" Libby guilty of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents before President Bush commuted his sentence, had a harder time clearing himself from a game show hot seat Thursday night in Chicago, as he braved a relentless satirical barrage during a taping of the NPR news-quiz show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for Illinois' Northern District, good-naturedly plopped himself on the set of the show and played along with a pun-filled grilling from host Peter Sagel, in the show's regular segment "Not My Job." In the segment, celebrities attempt to answer trivia questions about topics outside their expertise.
But before he got to that, Sagel tried to bait Fitzgerald out of his prosecutorial rectitude with a series of loaded questions, to no avail.
In the best bit, Sagel asked Fitzgerald where he lived, and how he got to work, finishing with the punch line, "How do you like commuting?" The standing-room-only crowd in Chicago - the town which both the show and Fitzgerald call home - laughed at the reference to President Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence, clearly hoping for Fitzgerald to take the bait. But, Fitzgerald played the straight man, "I like driving."
Fitzgerald, in his first public appearance outside of a press conference since the Libby trial, was a good sport. He said that he takes his job seriously, "but I don't take myself too seriously, which is why I'm doing this show."
Alas, Fitzgerald failed the news quiz. Despite Sagel's promise to not ask about Libby, each question featured someone else whose nickname was "Scooter." Fitzgerald correctly answered a question about Segway scooters, but missed on questions about a Muppet named Scooter, and former Yankee Phil "Scooter" Rizuitto. Sagel, in a break from form, jokingly 'commuted' Fitzgerald's failure.
Sagel did get the last laugh and the best image from the radio show, giving Fitzgerald a parting gift of a scooter, which Fitzgerald reluctantly toted offstage.
On a more serious note, Fitzgerald rebuffed Sagel's question of whether Fitzgerald would like to follow other famous prosecutors, like Chicago's Mayor
Daley and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, into politics. Fitzgerald
said "I'm not doing that."
The radio show airs Saturdays on NPR.
- CNN Chicago Bureau Chief Fuzz Hogan