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September 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: John Harris

Blago’s Attorneys Want FBI Reports on Pres. Obama Interview

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

white house photo

By Allan Lengel

Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants to look at the written reports on President Obama’s interviews with the FBI and prosecutors in his case, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The Sun-Times reports that the Blago defense team has filed a motion asking for the reports, claiming court testimony by government witness John Harris contradicts the government’s previous contention that Obama was unaware of any deals involving the Senate seat appointment.

“Testimony elicited by the government from John Harris and wiretaps played in court raise the issue of President Obama’s direct knowledge and communication with emissaries and others regarding the appointment to his senate seat,” lawyers wrote in the filing, according to the Sun-Times.

To read more click here.

Bad News For Ex-Gov Blago: His Top Aide John Harris Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Cooperate With Feds

John Harris/msnbc photo
John Harris/msnbc photo

This can’t be good for ex-Gov. Blagojevich to have his top aide plead guilty while he awaits trial. In fact, after admitting criminal acts involving the ex-Gov, top aide John Harris also agreed, according to page 17 of the plea deal  “to fully and truthfully cooperate in any matter in which he is called upon.” Yikes.

Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — A former top aide to Rod Blagojevich pleaded guilty today to wire fraud, admitting he discussed having his then boss appoint an adviser to President Obama to the U.S. Senate in exchange for financial benefits for the ex-governor.

The 26-page plea deal details various conversations that allegedly took place between Blagojevich and his former chief of staff, John Harris, concerning who would fill Obama’s open seat.

Harris’ plea deal also reveals a new allegation against the ex-governor concerning “Senate Candidate D,” identified by three sources as former Senate President Emil Jones.

Harris says Blagojevich sent him to deliver a quid pro quo request to the now-retired Jones.

For Full Story

Read Plea Agreement

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

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

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)