When news broke back in November that Donald Trump would defy expectations and keep Preet Bharara in charge of New York's southern district court, we should have been at least a little suspicious. Preet, of course, eventually got the axe – perhaps amidst an investigation into Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's suspiciously timed health stock trades – and now the Trump administration has reportedly sharpened their focus to one candidate: Ferris Bueller.
Alright, the guy who inspired Ferris Bueller, but still. As Bloomberg reports, DC lawyer Edward McNally is currently being considered to fill Preet's still-warm shoes. Before now, he was most famous for *not* being the inspiration for the 1986 cult movie anti-hero, except kind of also maybe being the inspiration for the 1986 cult movie anti-hero. From a 2009 WaPo op-ed of McNally's:
Movie director John Hughes and I grew up on the same street in our home town of Northbrook, Ill. We both graduated from Glenbrook North, the high school where he filmed scenes from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club," where his mom worked and two sets of our sisters were classmates. Because for years I was relentlessly pursued by a remarkably humorless Glenbrook dean about attendance, pranks and off-campus excursions -- and because my best friend was in fact named Buehler -- I've spent an inordinate amount of my life being unfairly accused of serving among the inspirations for Ferris Bueller.
But practicing law in Washington -- a town where Vice President Al Gore faced cynicism not only for claiming to have invented the Internet, but also for claiming to have been the role model for Ryan O'Neal's character in the movie "Love Story" -- invites considerable caution. And our 15-year-old Marguerite reminds us that the real Ferris (Matthew Broderick) actually grew up to marry Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker).
That settles it, right? Well...
That said, I'll admit that Ferris-ian high jinks were the everyday stuff of our boyhood lives. Ferris clocked in at nine absences his final high school semester. My own was a breathtaking 27. That might explain the dean's pursuit. The key was, from the time I entered high school, all sick notes from our mom were actually penned by our sister Sheila. Even the real ones.
For one of those Chicago adventures, we secretly borrowed a car almost as ridiculously conspicuous as the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT in the movie: my dad's purple Cadillac El Dorado (yes, purple). Put an extra 113 miles on the odometer. Hoping to erase that telltale mileage, we raised the back on a pair of jacks and ran the car in reverse. The Caddy did not fly backward into a ravine, as in the film. What it did do is quickly take off a clean 10,000 miles. Oops. (Yes, you bet he noticed.)
OK then. Henceforth McNally is not “the guy who inspired Ferris Bueller” but “the guy who wanted everyone to know he didn't inspire Ferris Bueller so badly that he convinced everyone he actually did inspire Ferris Bueller.” Sounds like a charmer.
McNally's other lovable shenanigans include testifying in his capacity as a southern Illinois federal prosecutor in defense of disgraced Illinois governor (and former private client of McNally's) George Ryan – testimony that involved trashing his colleagues up in Chicago and dragging an FBI agent through the mud. It didn't help that the Ryan's law firm was trying to pry a six-figure debt out of McNally at the time. Some people are still a bit rankled:
“McNally’s involvement in the extensive grand jury investigation and trial relating to former Illinois Governor George Ryan was extraordinary and highly unusual,” said Patrick Collins, a prosecutor in Ryan’s case, in a statement this week. McNally “sought to undermine the credibility of the best and most honorable FBI agent I have ever known.”
Somewhere, Preet Bharara is struggling to restrain an itchy Twitter finger.