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Joel R. Levin to be appointed first deputy to U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon

U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon intends to appoint a former prosecutor who helped him convict Gov. George Ryan as his right hand man, sources say.

Joel R. Levin — a partner at top law firm Perkins Coie for the last five years — is due to replace First Deputy Gary Shapiro, who is retiring.

Levin, 60, was previously a federal prosecutor for 24 years, holding a number of high-ranking positions in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago and San Francisco. He worked closely with Fardon in 2006 to secure the public corruption conviction of former Gov. Ryan, and is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.

More recently, he represented Rajinder Bedi, a key witness in the trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Levin declined to comment Thursday, citing the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. But a receptionist answering calls to his office at Perkins Coie said he has already left the firm.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office did not immediately comment Thursday, but sources said Fardon is waiting for Levin to pass a background check — which should be routine, given Levin’s prior public service — before making Levin’s return to the prosecutor’s office public.

Shapiro, 67, has been First Deputy to three U.S. Attorneys — Scott Lassar, Patrick Fitzgerald and Fardon — and served as acting U.S. Attorney for more than a year before Fardon’s nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. During his long and distinguished career, he was described by Fitzgerald as “a prosecutor’s prosecutor.”