The names of four former federal prosecutors will be sent to the White House for the Obama administration to decide who will succeed former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, according to a letter made public by Illinois’ two U.S. senators.
Several sources have previously identified the finalists as Jonathan Bunge, Zach Fardon, Lori Lightfoot and Gil Soffer.
Lightfoot, a partner at the Chicago law firm of Mayer Brown, would be the first African-American and first woman appointed to the post in Chicago. While working for the city from 2002 to 2005, she headed the Police Department's Office of Professional Standards, which investigated complaints of misconduct by officers.
Bunge, a partner at the Kirkland Ellis law firm, led the federal prosecution of police officers in south suburban Ford Heights who were convicted on racketeering and bribery charges.
Fardon, a partner at the Latham Watkins law firm, helped win the conviction of former Gov. George Ryan in 2006 as part of the Operation Safe Roads probe. Fardon, who grew up in Tennessee, also brings administrative experience, serving in the No. 2 post in the U.S. attorney's office in Nashville before entering private practice.
Soffer, a partner at the Katten Muchin Rosenman law firm, served as associate deputy attorney general in Washington during the final year of President George W. Bush's administration. He was appointed to an Illinois state ethics commission in 2009.
Fitzgerald stepped down in June after serving a record nearly 11 years as Chicago's chief federal prosecutor. He joined the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Chicago late last month.