WASHINGTON–Zachary Fardon is emerging as the likely nominee for U.S. attorney in Chicago, with his main rival for the pick, Lori Lightfoot, telling people she got a White House call a few days ago telling her she is out of the running, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
President Barack Obama’s team has been vetting potential contenders for the job, vacated by former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald last summer.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) ran a bi-partisan search committee and sent the White House four names for consideration last September, since whittled to two, Lightfoot and Fardon. The four –Fardon, Lightfoot, Jonathan Bunge and Gil Soffer–are all partners in Chicago law firms with experience as federal prosecutors in Chicago.
The search was started last July. The timing is up to the White House, which is vetting, or investigating the prospects before Obama taps a nominee. The next step is for the nomination to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee–of which Durbin is a member. From the time Obama sends a nominee to the committee to confirmation could take between two and four months.
Fardon specialized in public corruption cases as federal prosecutor in Chicago and Tennessee. His prosecuted former Illinois Gov. George Ryan and his chief of staff, Scott Fawell. He is now a partner with the Chicago law firm of Latham & Watkins in Chicago. He received his undergraduate and law degree from Vanderbilt University.
Lightfoot is a former federal prosecutor in Chicago and former chief administrator at the Chicago Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards. Lightfoot is a partner with the Chicago law firm with the Mayer Brown. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She is the only woman and minority on the list.
Since Fitzgerald’s departure, the interim U.S. attorney has been Gary Shapiro, who was Fitzgerald’s second-in-command.