The search will soon start for a new U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.   U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he and U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) will be assembling a bi-partisan committee to look at applicants for the job. That committee should be announced soon. Once the committee makes recommendations to Durbin and Kirk, the two senators will make a recommendation to the president. It then takes between two and four months to confirm a candidate.


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Until a permanent replacement is appointed, first assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro will serve as acting U.S. attorney for the district. Shapiro, recommended to Durbin by outgoing U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, has served as first assistant U.S. attorney for the last 14 years and has four decades of experience as a federal prosecutor in Chicago. Shapiro has worked on cases involving international terrorism, public corruption and organized crime. Shapiro could also be considered for the permanent appointment if he applies.


Durbin hopes for someone with qualities similar to the man who holds the job now. “It is our hope that when it all is said and done that we can find a person of the quality of Patrick Fitzgerald,” Durbin said.   Fitzgerald resigned last month after 24 years as a prosecutor, during which time he brought legal action against two Illinois governors. He said he believes new blood will be healthy for the office.   Shapiro, 65, resides in Evanston.


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