Journalist Matt Cooper, who almost got put in jail during Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of the Valerie Plame leak, has some suggestions for disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Here’s Cooper, writing in Portfolio:
[Fitzgerald’s] a hard ass, but a reasonable one and I think, if you believe you are guilty and are going to lose at trial, you might get a decent deal out of this. Sure, you’ll have to do time but you’re a relatively young guy. Fitz will deal….
You wanna deal with Fitzgerald directly, you and him. When I became a government witness, he interviewed me alone and knew the details of my case better than I did….
As I discovered in my prison research, there’s really no such thing as a country club prison any more. Even minimum-security facilities like the one I wanted to go to in Cumberland, Maryland, aren’t fun. They’re crowded, filled with check kiters and drug dealers and other folks you don’t want to share a bunk with.
But you won’t get shanked there or raped and you’ll be able to get through your time. That’s if you get a sentence that’s less than seven years. Anything longer and you’ll have to go to a tougher federal lockup.
I’d shoot for the minimum security and seven years in prison. You can argue that you won’t really be safe in anything tougher and that argument might appeal to Fitzy.
Contrition is key here. This is a guy who went to the best parochial school in New York and like those tough Jesuits who taught him, he can smell a liar. If you beg for mercy, you might get it.