George E. Q. Johnson

George E. Q. Johnson had no crime-fighting experience whatsoever when he became the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and the key man in the pursuit of Al Capone. Johnson was shy, soft-spoken, and unaccustomed to public posturing. He looked more like a poet than a crime-buster. Yet it was Johnson, slowly and methodically, who built the federal government’s best case against Capone. It was Johnson who had the courage to recognize that it was best to try Capone for tax evasion rather than for his violent crimes. He wanted to build the surest case possible to make certain that Capone was knocked out of commission. He would be criticized for the approach. But he didnt' care. Today, the so-called Capone method of punishment remains a popular one among prosecutors, widely used against terrorists and other violent criminals.


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