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Two white-collar defense lawyers not involved in the case called Mr. Fitzgerald’s request for more time unusual.

“It’s a sign to me that the government really did proceed precipitously well before they had their case in order,” lawyer Barry Pollack said. “It suggests a level of uncertainty in their case that is unusual.”

But given the public scrutiny the case has received, Mr. Pollack said, Mr. Fitzgerald likely will seek to indict only on charges that he feels certain he can prove.

Lawyer Robert Kelner noted that Mr. Fitzgerald acknowledged the prosecution moved quickly against Mr. Blagojevich because authorities wanted to stop what they considered ongoing criminal activity, such as seeking to sell the Senate seat.

“You can argue that he should not have arrested Blagojevich if he was not prepared to indict him, but the law allows him to proceed the way he did,” Mr. Kelner said. “If I was Blagojevich, I wouldn’t take any particular comfort from the fact that Fitzgerald is proceeding slowly and cautiously.”