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Tag: Gov. Blagojevich

Feds Had More Wiretaps Than Previously Disclosed in Gov. Blagojevich Probe

state photo

This scandal may end up having more legs than a centipede.

BY NATASHA KORECKI AND DAVE MCKINNEY
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Federal authorities had more wiretaps than previously disclosed in the investigation of Gov. Blagojevich — including the cellular telephone of a member the governor’s inner circle.
A new government filing in federal court indicates that in November, authorities tapped the cell phone of “Lobbyist 1.” The Sun-Times has identified lobbyist 1 as Lon Monk, the governor’s first-term chief of staff. Monk later became a fund-raiser and state lobbyist.
The revelation that investigators captured more on secret recordings than previously disclosed, came as federal prosecutors seek to release portions of those recordings to a House Committee seeking the governor’s impeachment.
Prosecutors are asking Chief U.S. District Judge James Holderman to release portions of four recordings having to do with the governor’s alleged discussion of asking for campaign contributions in exchange for his official actions. Prosecutors will go before Holderman today to discuss the motion.
“These calls bear on a discrete episode of criminal conduct alleged in the complaint affidavit … the calls are evidence of a criminal offense that the government was authorized to monitor under the wiretap order,” prosecutors wrote in their filing.
For Full Story

See Records of Fed Subpoenas Released

Gov. Blagojevich Could Decide By Monday Whether to Resign

With his political lifelines running out, Gov. Blagojevich may have little choice. If he decides to step down, he can make it look like he made the decision, not the state’s attorney general or the court.

BY NATASHA KORECKI AND CHRIS FUSCO
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Gov. Blagojevich will decide early next week — perhaps as early as Monday — whether he should resign, a source close to the governor told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“He was blindsided by this,” the source said. “He needs some time to digest what’s going on. He’s going to make his position clear shortly.”
On Friday, in his first public comments since his arrest, the governor did not rule out the possibility he might resign. As he left the federal courthouse after a visit to the pretrial services office, a reporter asked the governor, “Do you have anything to say to the people of Illinois?”
He replied, “I will at the appropriate time. Absolutely.”
For Full Story

Experts Say Wiretap Conversations Spell Big Big Trouble For Gov. Blagojevich

Even though he knew he was under investigation by one of the most tenacious U.S. Attorneys in the country, Gov. Rod Blagojevich just kept talking on the phone. That cavalier yapping could prove toxic in trial.

By Kevin Johnson
USA TODAY

If Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has a chance at combating the conspiracy charges against him, legal analysts say, he must never let a jury hear his own words captured on federal government wiretaps.
The governor was arrested Tuesday on charges that included conspiring to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Notre Dame law professor Jimmy Gurule, a former Justice Department official, describes the tapes as the “breathtaking” centerpiece of the government’s prosecution. “Unless the governor is successful in keeping the conversations out of a future trial, it’s hard to imagine what the defense is,” Gurule says.
Attorney Roscoe Howard, former chief federal prosecutor in Washington, says the recordings represent “the corpus of the crime” that will be difficult to attack if they are admitted as evidence in a courtroom.
“The governor is in deep trouble,” Howard says.
For Full Story

Paper Reports that Businessmen Wanted to Raise $1 million For Ill. Gov to Help Jesse Jackson Jr. Get Senate Seat (AP)

VIDEO OF STATE ATTY Gen. Seeking to Have Governor Removed

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9KnNM5rWtk

Gov Blagojevich: Narcissistic, Vengeful and Profane?

In many instances, when politicians like ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and ex-Sen. John Edwards step over the line, the word “narcissistic” surfaces. Not surprising, it’s popped up again in this case.

By SUSAN SAULNY
New York Times
CHICAGO – Little in Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s background prepared the people of Illinois for the man who was revealed in the criminal complaint that dropped like a bombshell here on Tuesday. Delusional, narcissistic, vengeful and profane, Mr. Blagojevich as portrayed by federal prosecutors shocked even his most ardent detractors.
“I almost fell over,” said Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and a frequent critic of the governor. “I was speechless and sickened. In all of the millions of indictments I’ve read over the last years, I can’t remember anything as vile as this.”
Mike Jacobs, a Democratic state senator and former friend of the governor, suggested that Mr. Blagojevich may have lost his grip on reality.
“I’m not sure he’s playing with a full deck anymore,” Mr. Jacobs said. “I think he brought a lot of this on himself. He’s so gifted, but so flawed in a number of fundamental areas. It’s like he dared the feds to come get him.”
for Full Story

Breaking News: Illinois Gov. Blagojevich and Chief of Staff Arrested in Corruption Probe

Well, all you can say is: Louisiana you don’t have anything over on Illinois. The state has one ex-gov in prison and a current one under indictment.

Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich

By Jon Perkins
ticklethwire.com

Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested yesterday on a criminal complaint alleging “a political corruption crime spree” that included conspiring to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate position.
Blagojevich, who has been under investigation for at least three years by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the district attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, was taken into custody by the FBI early Tuesday at his home on Chicago’s North Side. He and his chief of staff, John Harris, are charged in a “pay to play scheme” that
allegedly included: seeking jobs and benefits for Blagojevich and his wife; threatening to withdraw $8 million in funding for a Chicago children’s hospital, pushing for Chicago Tribune editors to be fired in
exchange for favorable treatment on the company’s proposed sale of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field and kickbacks on horse racing and casino legislation.
The 76-page criminal complaint based on about a month and a half of wiretaps at Blagojevich’s home and campaign offices, alleges that the governor wanted kickbacks in exchange for appointing someone to the Senate seat Obama vacated after winning election as president.
“The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” Fitzgerald said, quoting Blagojevich as saying the Senate seat is “a bleeping valuable thing. You just don’t give it away. … I’ve got this thing and it’s bleeping golden.”
Fitzgerald called the allegations “staggering.” This is “corruption at its absolute best.” Illinois politics has a history of chicinary going back years. Since the 1960s, three men who have been governor have been sent to jail. The latest, former governor George Ryan, is in prison on bribery and corruption charges related to his
time as Illinois secretary of state and governor, in a probe headed by Fitzgerald.
He said Blagojevich was arrested yesterday to stop actions that could have to be later reversed.
Fitzgerald called the corruption charges against Blagojevich “a truly new low.” Blagojevich wasn’t against the corrupt deal for the Senate seat, he was against “being stiffed in the corrupt deal,”Fitzgerald said. Two aides reportedly told Blagojevich to appoint whoever Obama wanted to the Senate post, but the governor reportedly said “bleep them.” He reportedly considered naming himself to the post or asking for a cabinet-level job including secretary of Health and Human Services or an ambassadorship.
Blagojevich “talked about selling it like a sports agent,” Fitzgerald said.
The governor was released on bond after a court appearance. Fitzgerald said the investigation into Blagojevich continues.
Blagojevich, as governor, has the sole authority to name Obama’s replacement. Fitzgerald, who many speculate is ticketed for a high-ranking Justice Department post, said his office is not implying that Obama had knowledge or was aware of the alleged scheming. Obama, who was “saddened and sobered” by the arrest, said he had had no contact with Blagojevich on the appointment. Blagojevich’s arrest does not preclude him from making the appointment.
Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago office, characterized Illinois’ place in the pantheon of political corruption. “If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor,” Grant said. “Even the most cynical agents in our office were shocked.”
Fitzgerald  was behind the recent conviction of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a
financier and fund-raiser who has been connected to several  Illinois
Democrats including  Blagojevich and Obama.  Rezko reportedly is
cooperating with Fitzgerald in his probe into Illinois political
corruption.

For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

Read U.S. Attorney’s Press Release

Columnist Eric Zorn: Charges ‘staggering,’ even by Illinois standards (Chicago Tribune)

Trib Was Asked To Delay Publishing Stories

Obama Said He Had No Contact Over Senate Seat (Chicago Tribune)

Feds Secretly Recorded Illinois Governor

Let’s see. One governor is in prison. Another is under investigation and is being secretly recorded by the feds. Mmm. Sounds a lot like Louisiana.

By Jeff Coen, John Chase and David Kidwell
Chicago Tribune

Gov. Blagojevich/official photo

Gov. Blagojevich/official photo

CHICAGO — Federal investigators recently made covert tape recordings of Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the most dramatic step yet in their corruption investigation of him and his administration, the Tribune has learned.
As part of this undercover effort, one of the governor’s closest confidants and former aides cooperated with investigators, and that assistance helped lead to recordings of the governor and others, sources said.
The cooperation of John Wyma, 42, one of the state’s most influential lobbyists, is the most stunning evidence yet that Blagojevich’s once-tight inner circle appears to be collapsing under the pressure of myriad pay-to-play inquiries.
Wyma, Blagojevich’s chief of staff when he was in Congress, has long been one of the few advisers trusted by Blagojevich and kept in the loop on matters of policy and politics. As the federal probe intensified, Wyma met privately with the governor and his former chief of staff at the governor’s campaign headquarters on the North Side for 90 minutes on Oct. 22.
For Full Story