Ousted FBI Director James Comey told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday that his longtime friend and former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has been on his legal team for nearly a year.
“He’s been representing me since I was fired,” Comey said at a Washington, D.C., reception Tuesday evening, signing copies of his book “A Higher Loyalty.”
The political news website Talking Points Memo first reported Tuesday afternoon that Fitzgerald — who was the top federal prosecutor based in Chicago for more than a decade — was representing Comey to help him “navigate his dramatic role as a potential witness in the investigation of President Trump’s campaign and potential obstruction of justice.”
Comey told the Sun-Times that Fitzgerald is part of his three-member legal team that also includes David Kelley, a former deputy U.S. attorney under Comey in New York, and Dan Richman of Columbia Law School, another former federal prosecutor.
Asked what kinds of issues the team helps him with, Comey said: “All the things you might need to talk to counsel about once you’re fired.”
Through a spokeswoman, Fitzgerald confirmed that he “has been part of Mr. Comey’s legal team since May 2017.” He declined further comment.
Comey and Fitzgerald have been friends for decades, dating back to when they both worked as prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Appointed to be the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in September 2001, Fitzgerald prosecuted former Illinois governors Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan, former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge as well as former Sun-Times owner Conrad Black.
In 2003, Comey — then the deputy attorney general — appointed Fitzgerald as the special counsel to investigate the leaked identity of former CIA operative Valerie Plame. Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff Scooter Libby was convicted, though he was pardoned by Trump last week.
Fitzgerald, who has been loath to comment on political matters since shifting to private practice, issued a rare statement after the pardon, saying the “facts have not changed.”
At the Tuesday reception hosted by his literary agency Javelin, Comey said it was his “first book party ever.” Playing on Comey’s ongoing feud with the Trump administration, cocktails on the drink menu were named “Deep State,” the “Southern District” and “[REDACTED].”
He recounted his recent media blitz in support of the book, saying the only interviews that had him nervous were on “The View” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Comey said, “because my wife cared about ‘The View’ and my kids cared about Colbert.”
As for who would play him in a movie adaptation of his book?
“Oh my god,” Comey said. “Someone much shorter than I am.”