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Tag: Chicago

Ex-FBI Agent Jody Weis Has His Problems as Chicago Police Chief

Chief Johy Weis/police photo

Chief Johy Weis/police photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Since the beginning, Chicago Police chief Jody Weis, an ex-FBI agent, has been battling the perception of being an outsider in an agency that doesn’t take so kindly to such things.

The latest attack on Weis came Wednesday when more than 300 off-duty Chicago cops stood outside police headquarters  to protest his reign, the Associated Press reported.

The protesters carried signs: “More police, No Weis”, and “Resign,” while chanting, “Jody’s got to go!”, the AP reported.

Weis was appointed by Mayor Richard Daily in 2008 to clean up the department. But Daily has chosen not to run for re-election, which could spell the end of Weis’ tenure as chief.

To read more click here.

Charges Dropped Against Wall Street Journal Reporter in Blago Case

Douglas Belkin/facebook

Douglas Belkin/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For a while, during the public corruption trial of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in downtown Chicago, the only sure conviction appeared to involve defendant Douglas Belkin, a Wall Street Journal reporter.

In July, the 42-year-old reporter was arrested while covering the trial of Blagojevich and his brother Robert, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. Marshals Office accused Belkin of leaving a designated reporters area in the courthouse to pursue an interview and failing to stop when ordered to, AP reported.

But Belkin is now off the hook.

AP reported that the U.S. Attorney’s office decided to drop the charges — petty citations for disturbance and  disobeying signs and directions.

AP reported that the The Wall Street Journal complained the reporter was wrongfully detained while doing his job, but it was glad the ordeal was over.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Brotherly Love? Ex-Gov. Blago Doesn’t Call Brother Hours After Charges Dropped

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice
Ex-Gov on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Perhaps one of the more interesting asterisks surrounding the decision Thursday by prosecutors to drop charges against Robert Blagojevich was that his brother Rod, the very chatty, seldom-at-a-loss for words ex-governor, had not called to congratulate him hours after the announcement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“When it comes to my brother, I’ve grown accustomed to being an afterthought. So, it’s not a big deal for me,” Robert Blagojevich told the Sun-Times.

The case was dropped against Robert Blagojevich, who had been indicted on four corruption counts. The jury in the first trial deadlocked on all counts. Prosecutors still plan to retry brother Rod, who was convicted on only 1 of 24 counts.

The paper reported that reporters caught Rod Blagojevich on Thursday as he was leaving to go jogging and asked his reaction to the charges being dropped against his brother.

It “was long overdue,” Rod Blagojevich said, according to the Sun-Times.

“What happened to my brother should have never happened, and I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for my brother and for his family that this nightmare for them is finally over,” he said.

The paper reported that after talking to reporters, Rod Blagojevich called his brother and left a message.

“I still love my brother,” Robert Blagojevich said, according to the Sun-Times. “I know he still loves me. I wish him well and want nothing but the best for him and his family.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Blago II Could Start Up in January

Sam Adam Jr. may not return for act 2/ law firm photo

Sam Adam Jr. may not return for act 2/ law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The sequel to Rod Blagojevich’s first public corruption trial could be coming to a federal court room in downtown Chicago as early as January, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Trib reported that in a private meeting last week between U.S. District Judge James Zagel and lawyers, the judge said he was considering a January date.

Whether Blagojevich has the same attorneys is in question. His legal team of seven lawyers was paid from his $2.7 million campaign fund, which is now totally depleted.

The judge indicated he would appoint Blago two attorneys, which are likely to be paid by taxpayers.

The father and son team of Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr. have hinted they may not return for a second act, the Tribune reported.  Blagojevich was convicted last week on one of 24 public corruption counts. The jury deadlocked on the other 23 counts and the judge declared a mistrial on those charges.

APPEARANCE ON THE DAILY SHOW MONDAY

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Rod Blagojevich Extended Interview Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Chris Wallace Asks Blago: “Is There Anything You Won’t Do For a Buck These Days?” & Blago Predicts Political Comeback

Column: No Crime In Retrying Ex-Ill. Gov. Blagojevich

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There’s no question it was a major embarrassment for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald when a Chicago jury on Tuesday convicted the over-chatty ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on only 1 of 24 counts — and that sole count did not even go to the meat of the case.

But I have to disagree with my former paper, the Washington Post, which said in an editorial that Fitzgerald “should back off” retrying the case. I also disagree with the Wall Street Journal editorial, which said Fitzgerald should resign or be removed by the Justice Department.

The Post said a retrial would amount to persecution, not prosecution. The Journal says that Fitzgerald piled up charges in this case and others and “this pattern points to a willful prosecutor who throws an exaggerated book at unpopular defendants and hopes at least one of the charges will stick, even as he flouts due process and the presumption of innocence when the political winds are high.”

First off, the jury voted 11-1 to convict on some counts including the most publicized one that Blagojevich tried selling the Senate seat vacated by Obama. One juror  said she thought Blagojevich was simply engaging in politics as usual. Sad, but true.

A retrial is not inappropriate. Even in the best of cases, you can run into a juror who simply holds out, rightly or wrongly. It happens. It doesn’t mean your case is a stinker or that you shouldn’t retry the case; it doesn’t mean you’re mean, vindictive if you retry the case.

Politicians have to learn that with political office comes the responsibility of being honest and having some integrity. Shaking down people for money shouldn’t be part of the job description.

Frankly, I find Rod Blagojevich amusing. So do a lot of other folks around the country. But he stepped way over the line. He knew he was stepping over the line. Unfortunately, yes, stepping over the line is simply politics as usual in Illinois and other parts of the country like Louisiana and New Jersey.

We need to keep sending a message this isn’t the politics as usual we want.

The Blagojevich Case: Who Won?

blago on kingBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

At first blush, Rod Blagojevich appeared almost Houdini-like, slipping out from under a weight of charges that seemed almost certain to bury the former Illinois governor.

A federal jury in downtown Chicago convicted him Tuesday on only one of 24 corruption counts — one that involved lying to FBI agents in 2005. It deadlocked on the 23 others, including a key one — that Blagojevich had tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Blagojevich vowed to appeal what he called the “nebulous” one count, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. The jury deadlocked on all four charges against his brother Robert.

But did he really win? And did the prosecution lose? Depends who’s talking.

“There’s no doubt they brought 24 charges hoping to get 24 convictions,” former District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard Jr., a friend of Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, told AOL News. “But they have a conviction. If you’re the former governor and you now have a felony conviction, that’s a bad situation.”

To read more click here.

Feds Get Conviction on Third Try Against Racist Talk Show Host Hal Turner

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The third time worked for federal prosecutors.

After bumping up against two mistrials because of hung juries, federal prosecutors on Friday convicted Hal Turner, a racist internet radio talk show host and blogger, in Brooklyn U.S. District Court of threatening to assault and murder three U.S. Court of Appeals judges in Chicago in retaliation for them upholding a handgun ban in Chicago.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours before reaching a verdict in a trial that started Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities said that Turner, 47, of North Bergen, N.J., was immediately taken into custody pending sentencing. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Turner was charged in June 2009 for writing Internet postings, saying he was outraged about the handgun decision by the judges.

“Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed,” he wrote. He also posted photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, authorities said. The case was charged in Chicago, but a change of venue moved it to New York.

“There is no place in society for threatening federal judges with violence. Period,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.”We are grateful that the jury saw these threats for what they were and rejected any notion that they were acceptable speech.”