A U.S. Attorney's spokesman denies the charge, as does Pirro. "I'm here because I have a job to do," Pirro says. "I'm here because there are victims out there that need me, and I will never jeopardize anyone or any case for a reason that is not relevant to what I do. I am Jeanine Pirro, district attorney, when I sit at this desk."
How long she will sit at that desk is the question. Voters have heard some of the charges against Pirro in the past but have shown affection for her and approval of her work. Even now, according to a recent poll, her approval rating among Westchester voters is holding at 71 percent. For now, political pals aren't discussing Pirro's future. Neither Pataki nor state Republican chairman Bill Powers, two men who have benefited from Al Pirro's fund-raising, has returned repeated calls made by New York.
Recent rumors of a potential Senate run for Pirro were more a favor to the party than a sign of intent. "That talk about her running was put out because people around Pataki were trying to find a safe place to shoot at the mayor," says Adler, who has numerous GOP clients in Westchester. "So they talked her up and probably asked her not to say no."
And Jeanine never said no. She's still not saying no. And despite her husband's current troubles, even Democrats think she will eventually rise above the mêlée to run for higher office. "She is a terrific candidate," says Gerry Ferraro. "I'd rather have a Democrat Senate candidate come up against Giuliani, because Jeanine Pirro would be hard to beat."
For now, Pirro is simply too hard to ignore. The same week she appeared at Safir's side and in front of the Smith College group, she also popped up on the local cable evening news. There she sat, backed by a spiky D.A. seal, her office just two blocks from where her husband will soon go on trial, commenting on John Gotti Jr.'s plea bargain in a federal racketeering case -- a case she had nothing to do with.