01/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dear Gov. Blagojevich

Dear Governor Blagojevich:

I know you've had a long day.

Apparently, federal agents showed up at your house to arrest you at 6 a.m. for trying to sell Barack Obama's senate seat to the highest bidder.

You're probably wondering what to do. I have some advice.

Back in 2004, I had a rather infamous run-in with Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago who has taken such a keen interest in you. He was also, of course, appointed special prosecutor in the CIA leak case. I remember well because I was in his sights once, too.

I had written an article for called, "A War on Wilson?" in which I tried to point out the scurrilous rumors that Bush administration officials were putting out about former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson. Fitzgerald wanted to know who leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, a CIA agent, and he subpoenaed me to testify. I refused and so did my employer, Time Inc.

A court battle ensued that went all the way to the Supreme Court. After one of my sources, Karl Rove, released me from the bonds of confidentiality, I testified, narrowly escaping jail for contempt of court.

Being from Chicago you know that Fitzy, as his friends like to call him, is notoriously tough and single-minded. He's married now but I'm sure the son of Irish immigrants is still a workaholic, and having convicted what seems like half of Chicago (along with the likes of Scooter Libby and Conrad Black), I don't think he's slacking off just because a new president is coming in. I'm sure you know about how tough he is.

I don't think Fitzgerald is a cruel man. He could have put my big white butt in jail as soon as the first federal judge laughed my case out of court. But he didn't. He waited for me to make all my appeals to the Supreme Court, which meant putting his incredibly high-profile case on hold for a year. A vengeful prosecutor wouldn't have done that.

(I think a wiser one wouldn't have gone after me to be a witness in what was essentially a perjury case in the first place, but that's another matter.)

The point here is I don't think you're dealing with a modern-day Javert or some loon. He's a hard ass, but a reasonable one and I think, if you believe you are guilty and are going to lose at trial, you might get a decent deal out of this. Sure, you'll have to do time but you're a relatively young guy. Fitz will deal.

You're definitely better off dealing now. Whoever inherits the case from Fitzgerald can't afford to be seen as going light on you. It's bad enough you (allegedly) tried to sell a Senate seat but it's the president's seat, for gosh sakes. Obama's Justice Department is gonna be even tougher on you. It can't afford not to be.

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