- Category : 1950-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Small (43,62)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Dominion 2
American lawyer who, as lead federal prosecutor in the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, handled one of the most important cases in the history of the United States.
The middle son of Rex and Merle Hartzler, he was raised in Ohio where he played football, baseball and soccer during high school. He attended Amherst College and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English before going on to American University’s Washington College of Law where he graduated first in his class in 1978. He clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington before returning to the Midwest. For the next ten years, he worked in the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s office. He resigned in 1989 to become a partner in the firm of Rudnick & Wolfe. Two years later, however, he returned to more satisfying work and became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois.
After hearing about the bombing in Oklahoma City, Hartzler felt strongly about bringing the perpetrators to justice and decided he was willing to work the long hours necessary and endure any physical discomfort that the trial might require. He called the Justice Department and offered his assistance; in May 1995, he was named head of the staff and knew that he was about to do "something that would make a difference." A sharp trial lawyer, he was chosen because of his ability to handle complicated cases as well as his capacity to stay calm under intense pressure.
In 1995, President Clinton presented Hartzler with the Father of the Year Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. A sports enthusiast, he coaches youth baseball and named his team the "Mighty Skunks."
He met his wife, Lisa Harps, in law school where they sat next to each other in all their first-year classes as a result of alphabetical seating assignments, something he called "lucky." After each class, they met to compare notes and study. They were married in 1981 and are devoted to their three sons.
In 1989, Hartzler was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After losing the use of both his legs, he began using a scooter and a wheelchair for transportation. Realistic about his disability, he prefers to focus on what he can do, rather than what he cannot do. Much to his delight during the bombing trial, the media began referring to him as "The Ironside of Illinois," a reference to the wheelchair bound policeman in the television series. Saying that he felt it was time that America saw that a disability doesn’t stop someone from doing a job, he said, "I have MS; I don’t suffer from it."