Michael Sneed is a local gossip columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. And she's the latest journalist to be steamrolled by Chicago's US attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald—the same prosecutor who sent fallen Times reporter Judy Miller to jail! But Sneed won't have to go to court to try to keep her sources secret, because they're named right in the complaint against corrupt governor Rod Blagojevich. You see, Sneed was allegedly the guv's go-to reporter for planting fake rumors designed to help his scheme to extort money in exchange for Obama's replacement in the Senate. Oh, this one is good.

From the complaint handed down today:

And here's how that planted tip ended up being published in her column:

But that's not all! Blogojevich and Co. continued to leak more tips to Sneed:

How tight was Sneed with these people? So tight that today—the day that the scandal itself broke—she has what certainly appears to be another Blago-planted item in her column! To wit:

December 9, 2008

BY MICHAEL SNEED Sun-Times Columnist

Hmmm: Is this the real deal? Is Gov. Blagojevich actually eyeing state Rep. Art Turner, a 25-year Illinois House veteran, to fill President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat?

• • To wit: Sneed hears rumbles Gov. Blago feels Turner, an African American from the West Side, would satisfy Obama's desire to fill the seat with an African American; would only be a two-year replacement; and would be a loyal compadre to have in the Senate.

• • Sureshot? "I'm told Turner, who is deputy house majority leader, is being given serious consideration by the governor," said a source.

One the one hand, Patrick Fitzgerald is a somewhat overzealous guy in general who could not give less of a fuck about the importance of confidential sources to the practice of journalism. On the other hand, Michael Sneed clearly comes out looking like a patsy. [And yes, "Michael Sneed" is the woman pictured.]