GUILTY ON 17 of 20 COUNTS IN SECOND TRIAL –
June 27, 2011
The Trial Begins Today!
TRIAL IS OVER FOR NOW
Blago Convicted on 1 Count out of 24!
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich
What do these four men have in common?
Politician I. Rod Blagojevich (Democrat, Illinois)
Politician II. Andrew Romanoff (Democrat, Colorado)
Politician III. Joe Sestak (Democrat, Pennsylvania)
Politician IV. David Paterson (Democrat, Governor, New York)
Blago says, “Nobody does somethin’ for nothin’!” He was just doing what EVERYBODY does if you are in Chicago Politics. Who is shaking in their boots as this trial begins?
We’ll follow this trial as many Chicago “stars” become implicated in criminal “pay-to-play” politics. We’ll also have a ringside seat to other similar cases playing out on the Washington, D.C. stage.
Today, the group from Chicago that operates from the White House has added a new word to their democratic dictionary. The latest adjective being utilized to describe how they operate is that jobs are “dangled” not offered. Expect to hear it often. Was Obama’s Illinois Senate seat dangled too?
Blago’s mantra, “The truth will set you free!” Hopefully, his revelations will set us free from those who are determined to destroy our country. Will Blago and subpoenaed participants implicate those who are involved in the massive Marxist/progressive conspiracy that has permeated our government?
Who will be held accountable? Who was involved in backroom deals in Chicago and elsewhere? Will influence be redefined also?
Blago, Please don’t leave us dangling!
Romanoff Cracks: Secret White House Jobsgate E-Mail Revealed
…the Denver Post last night revealed that Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff has now reluctantly admitted he discussed “three possible jobs with the deputy chief of staff of the Obama administration — all contingent upon a decision by Romanoff not to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.”
The White House Deputy Chief of Staff is Jim Messina, a Denver-born Obama aide who served as the chief of staff of the Obama presidential campaign. Messina serves under Rahm Emanuel, the former Illinois Congressman and current White House Chief of Staff.
The Post also published an e-mail from Messina to Romanoff dated September 11, 2009 at 3:24 pm. The e-mail discusses the jobs of Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and Caribbean, and Director, Office of Democracy and Governance. Both of those positions are under the United States Agency for International Development. The third position mentioned was Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. (USAID)
The positions discussed in the Messina-Romanoff e-mail are all compensated positions.
Rahm Emanuel subpoenaed by Blago defense
June 2, 2010
Lawyers for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich have subpoenaed Rahm Emanuel to testify at Blagojevich’s corruption trial, which is scheduled to open tomorrow, lawyers associated with the case said today.
Emanuel, chief of staff to President Barack Obama, had been expected to be subpoenaed by the former governor. While he was a U.S. representative from Chicago, Emanuel was recorded in conversations with Blagojevich about Obama’s vacant Senate seat. Blagojevich is accused of offering the seat to the highest bidder.
Emanuel was also an alleged victim of a Blagojevich extortion attempt over a state grant to a school. Emanuel joins a collection of other politicians subpoenaed by the defense to possibly testify at the high-profile trial.
Rahm Emanuel (and Valerie Jarrett) Subpoenaed by Blagojevich: Attorney
June 2, 2010
President Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was subpoenaed by the defense to testify in Rod Blagojevich’s upcoming trial….”Yes, he’s been subpoenaed by the defense,” one of Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers, Shelly Sorosky said today.
Valerie Jarrett was also subpoenaed, according to the White House, which also confirmed Emanuel’s subpoena after the Sun-Times reported the news.
Sorosky described Emanuel as a “critical” witness because: “he’s the supposed victim of an extortion.” One of the charges against Blagojevich accuses him of attempting to extort Emanuel while he was a congressman.
Sorosky said there are two areas of interest involving Emanuel: the alleged attempted extortion of Emanuel by then-Gov. Blagojevich and the U.S. senate seat selection concerning now-White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Jarrett was initially interested in the Senate seat post after Obama was elected president in 2008 and Emanuel had some discussions with both Blagojevich and his staff about the open seat.
The defense in Blagojevich’s case has already subpoenaed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. — all are Democrats.
Fast Times @ Ridgemont High. After all, they are children playacting at being ” the grown ups”.
I only hope these impeachable offenses conducted by the WH and its emissaries are thoroughly investigated by congresspeople who respect and honor our country and its Constitution.
Only, I believe…they believe…they are here to stay.
The Resurrection of Rod Blagojevich
by Michelle Malkin Snips
We’ve had the Summer of Love and the Summer of the Shark. Now, are you ready for the Summer of Corruption? On Thursday, jury selection begins in the federal trial of disgraced former Democrat Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. The timing couldn’t be worse for Blago’s old Chicago pals in the White House. Just as Team Obama tries to bury one job-trading scandal, another one resurfaces.
It’s a useful reminder that Washington didn’t turn Obama into a business-as-usual politician. He was born and bred among the slimiest in their class.
At the center of the Blago trial is the convergence of the Chicago political machine – the corrupt Democratic Party establishment, Big Labor heavies at the Services Employees International Union, and Team Obama.
Big Donor holds job White House Dangled
June 3, 2010
A high-end donor to President Barack Obama holds one of the jobs White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina dangled in front of Andrew Romanoff to dissuade him from running the Democratic Colorado Senate primary.
Leocadia Zak, who along with husband Kenneth Hansen gave $10,200 to help elect Obama, was nominated for the post of director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency on Nov. 16, 2009 — about two months after Romanoff told Messina he wasn’t interested in that Commerce Department job or two other positions at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
All three of the current occupants of the jobs pitched to Romanoff have extensive experience in international affairs.
The 43-year-old Romanoff — a lawyer, consultant, government aide and state House speaker — taught English in Latin America between college at Yale and grad school at Harvard, according to his online biography. And his grandparents participated in Project Hope, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization that delivers health care services around the world
Another job on Messina’s menu was deputy assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Aid and Development.
That post is currently held by Janet Ballantyne, a career foreign service officer with foreign policy experience that far exceeds Romanoff’s.
The White House confirmed early Thursday morning that Messina called and e-mailed Romanoff last September to “see if he was still interested in a position at U.S. AID” or planned to run for the Senate. Romanoff, the White House reported, had filled out an online application for a U.S. AID job in the new administration months earlier. There was no “job offer” made in the interaction between Messina and Romanoff, according to the White House.
Under increasing pressure since the White House acknowledged last week that Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak had been offered an unpaid advisory post in the administration if he dropped out of the primary he eventually won against Sen. Arlen Specter, Romanoff publicly released the e-mail he had received from Messina. It included descriptions of the jobs held by Zak, Ballantyne and Taft.
Text of White House e-mail to Andrew Romanoff
June 2, 2010
Prairie // June 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm
MORE FROM MADSEN ON BLAGO & THE CROOKS OF CHICAGO –
June 4-6, 2010 — Blagojevich trial threatens to bring down key Obama advisers
With the trial of ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich now underway in Chicago, there is word that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and close Barack and Michelle Obama friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett have been subpoenaed by Blagojevich’s defense team.
WMR has previously covered the embarassing details that may arise for Obama if Emanuel takes the stand, however, Jarrett’s testimony also represents a potential political mine field for Obama.
US Attorney for Northern Illinois Patrick J. Fitzgerald, a cover-up artist for the four administrations that have signed his pay check — Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama — will attempt to focus the trial on Blagojevich and argue that anything presented in testimony not dealing with Blagojevich’s alleged crimes is “ancillary” and not pertinent to the trial. However, Blagojevich’s defense lawyers know that Obama, Jarrett, and Emanuel are only one degree of separation away from dubious real estate deals and illegal influence-peddling activities.
Jarrett, who was born in Shiraz, Iran to American parents, is a virtual “smoking gun” of dirty political deals in Chicago, according to informed political sources WMR spoke to in Chicago. Jarrett’s mother, Barbara Taylor Bowman, is a co-founder of the Erickson Institute of Chicago. WMR was told that there are questionable links between the non-profit Erickson Institute, a child development organization; the real estate firm The Habitat Company (owned by Daniel Levin, the cousin of Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin and House Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin) where Jarrett served as CEO, and the Alter Group, a major construction company.
Erickson moved from modest accommodations at 420 North Wabash Street in Chicago to a luxurious 75000 square feet business condominium at 451 North LaSalle. The deal was financed by the Alter Group, led by Michael Alter, who is also part-owner of the neocon and staunchly pro-Israel magazine The New Republic, which Emanuel has said is “required reading in the White House.”
Habitat is one of Chicago’s major real estate owners and while she was CEO for the company, Jarrett pulled in a whopping $800,000 a year salary. Prior to her Habitat job, Jarrett served in the Mayor Richard Daley administration as Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development.
When President Obama flew off to Copenhagen last year in an attempt to wrest the 2016 Summer Olympics for Chicago, Habitat, which received massive subsidies from the scandal-tainted federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), stood to make billions of dollars from the sale of Habitat-owned formerly public lands and former industrial tracts in Chicago’s southside to the Chicago Olympic committee. However, Chicago lost out to Rio de Janeiro and the Chicago land speculators, who included Jarrett and the Obamas, did not see their windfall.
Jarrett is also reportedly closely linked to convicted and jailed former Obama political donor Tony Rezko. Rezko has also been subpoenaed by Blagojevich’s defense team. It was Rezko who financed the real estate “flip” that enabled the Obamas to obtain a $500,000 mortgage for their home in swanky Hyde Park in south Chicago. It was the failed Broadway Bank of current Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias’s family that helped finance the Obama’s mortgage. Giannoulias, a “pick up” basketball chum of Obama, was reportedly a favorite of Obama to succeed him in the US Senate after Jarrett withdrew her name.
First Lady Michelle Obama could also likely be drawn into the Illinois political scandals unhatching with the Blagojevich trial. WMR has learned that while she worked for the firm Ernst and Young as an attorney, Mrs. Obama voluntarily surrendered her law license during a hearing before a state court. However, the record of the voluntary surrender of the law license has been sealed by the Illinois Attorney Disciplinary Board. WMR has been told that Mrs. Obama may have affixed her signature on a fraudulent real estate document in a deal possibly involving her friend Valerie Jarrett’s Chicago real estate ventures.
Blagojevich is broke, attorney says: ‘He didn’t take a dime’
June 8, 2010
In their opening statement, prosecutors said Rod Blagojevich governed Illinois under a three-word mantra: “What about me?” — a reference to Blagojevich allegedly using state government to enrich himself.
But in his opening statement, Blagojevich defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. told jurors to heed three other words as the ex-governor’s criminal trial unfolds: “Follow the money.”
Adam also said that Blagojevich was “fooled” by some of the people in his inner circle: namely his former chief of staff and best friend, Lon Monk — who has pleaded guilty to crimes tied to Blagojevich — and Tony Rezko, who is behind bars after being convicted on corruption charges involving Blagojevich’s administration.
Adam also took aim at prosecutors’ conclusions that Patti Blagojevich was part of her husband’s criminal scheme by getting $150,000 in sham real estate consulting fees and commissions from Rezko. Adam said she did legitimate work for the money at a time when Rezko was widely regarded as an upstanding businessman. “She did her job and she got her commission,” he said.
Blago Headlines – Archives – Sun Times, Chicago
Rahm Traded Favors with Blago: Report
NBC Chicago ^ | 6-21-10 | John O’Conner
Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010 12:00:13 PM by STARWISE
While a congressman, Emanuel asked for trades with embattled gov.
President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, then a congressman in Illinois, apparently attempted to trade favors with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich while he was in office, according to newly disclosed e-mails obtained by The Associated Press.
Emanuel agreed to sign a letter to the Chicago Tribune supporting Blagojevich in the face of a scathing editorial by the newspaper that ridiculed the governor for self-promotion. Within hours, Emanuel’s own staff asked for a favor of its own:
The release of a delayed $2 million grant to a school in his district.
Things are heating up in the Blago trial. On one tape, Blago says that Obama is hen-pecked. CW is following the trial closely. From there, the following:
More wiretap evidence was released yesterday, June 23, 2010, in the Rod Blagojevich trial. I picked one of the wiretaps because it is full of damning evidence and insight into Chicago corruption and the involvement of Barack and Michelle Obama.
From this one wiretap we learn:
■Blagojevich is clearly involved in selling of senate seat.
■Blagojevich has inside info on Obama’s senate seat resignation.
■Tom Balanoff, President of local SEIU IL State Councils, is a go between Blagojevich and the Obamas.
■Obama’s resignation is synchronized for Blagojevich’s benefit.
■Obama follows Michelle’s lead.
■Obama is trying to distance himself from Rezko.
Jury Hung on 23 Counts…Blago Convicted for 1 !!
Rod Blagojevich was convicted on one count of making false statements to federal authorities on Tuesday ,but the jury could not reach a verdict on the 23 other counts facing the former Illinois governor, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said prosecutors will retry Blagojevich on at least some of the 23 other counts, including extortion, bribery and conspiracy on allegations that he converted his office into what prosecutors called a “corrupt ring” that included an attempt to trade the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama in exchange for jobs and money.
Jurors twice told a federal judge over 14 days of deliberation that they were unable to come to a unanimous agreement on the vast majority of the charges against Blagojevich after a two-month trial.
As it stands, the verdict appears to be a big victory for Blagojevich who right now faces a maximum of five years in prison — a significantly lesser sentence than he could have faced if any of the other numerous corruption charges had resulted in a conviction.
The verdict caps one of the most tawdry, and at times comic, corruption cases in recent political history, with a clownish and deluded defendant who relished rather than resented the attention, a colorful and often-profane script highlighted by FBI wiretaps and a frequent references to the president of the United States and two of his top aides.
While Blagojevich declared repeatedly before the trial that he couldn’t wait to tell his side of the story, he never testified. His lawyer, in closing arguments, said in essence that his client was too dumb to be taken seriously as a criminal.
“No one’s going to say he’s the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s not corrupt,” said Blagojevich’s attorney, Sam Adam Jr. “Think about who he was trying to extort. The president of the United States? Give me a break!”
Not comic at all were the crimes outlined in the indictment and during the trial. The “message was ‘pay up or no action,’” Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton told the jury. It was a “shakedown,” she said.
In addition to trying to sell the Senate seat, he was accused of
demanding money for himself, his campaigns and his wife, attempting to extort the CEO of a children’s hospital, a racetrack owner, a road construction executive, and, indirectly, Rahm Emanuel. He was accused, as well, of offering to help the Chicago Tribune sell the Cubs if the paper would fire the editorial board that wrote critically of him.
According to the indictment, he did some of these things even after he knew that his co-conspirators — including his brother, his
chief of staff and business associates — were being investigated and watched by prosecutors.
The numerous charges — racketeering, bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion — were extensively documented in the 113-page indictment and in testimony that pulled the curtain back on a vain politician, obsessing over his own political stature in private while publicly pronouncing his commitment to “the people” and fantasizing about perhaps becoming U.N. ambassador or even president.
Tapes of the foul-mouthed Blagojevich recorded by FBI wiretaps became a cult hit. Ring tones of the former governor’s
greatest hits from the indictment posted by the State Journal-Register in Springfield went viral and were widely downloaded.
“I’ve got this thing, and it’s f—— golden. And I’m just not giving
it up for f—— nothing,” Blagojevich says describing Obama’s Senate seat in one of the more popular ring tones.
“Only 13 percent of you all out there think I’m doing a good job. So f— all of you,” he says in another.
On the way to his trial, Blagojevich milked the spotlight and the
strange freedom provided to a politician removed from office and
He hosted a weekly radio show and fell asleep before getting fired by Donald Trump on NBC’s “The Apprentice.” His wife ate a tarantula “as an act of love” and bonded with the stars of MTV’s “The Hills” on the reality show “I’m a celebrity … Get me out of here!”
His trademark line whenever meeting a new person during the nearly two-years between being arrested and his convicted was: “Rod Blagojevich, innocent on all charges.”
By a unanimous 59-0 vote, the Illinois Senate removed Blagojevich from office on Jan. 29, 2009.
Blagojevich blamed his political opponents for his removal, claiming
that it was retribution his legislative push to provide health care to
He has also blamed variously Obama, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett for his woes.
Blagojevich threatened to expose top White House staffers as equally corrupt, though his legal team never called any of them as witnesses.
Blagojevich’s former chief of staff, John Harris, testified during the
trial that Obama knew Blagojevich was “willing to make the appointment of Valerie Jarrett as long as he gets what he’s asked for.”
But that uncorroborated statement was as close as the governor’s team got to implicating the White House, which never had to endure the scrutiny that Republicans hoped would befall Obama’s administration during the trial.
Instead, the trial was mostly an embarrassment for Blagojevich.
It was revealed that he and his wife had spent more than $400,000 on clothes during his term as governor while racking up $200,000 in consumer debt.
Tapes of the governor show that it occurred to him that he might be named United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations in exchange for the Senate seat, and that he had considered appointing talk show host Oprah to the seat.
Towards the end of the trial, even Blagojevich had to admit that he talked “too much.”
So what was the case that Fitzgerald flubbed and why did he? It seems to me that the Obama clan didn’t want more information erupting about their dealings with Blago. If it was such a slam dunk for Fitzgerald, why couldn’t the jury decide on 23 counts.
I guess its not over until Blago sings! We’d love to hear the tune!
Citizen Wells accuses US Justice Dept of corruption, Blagojevich Obama Rezko deal, Fix in on Blagojevich trial
It is clear that a deal was struck between Blagojevich, Obama and Rezko and that the US Justice Dept is complicit in this conspiracy to obstruct justice. The prosecution had already proven this time and time again by delaying the Blagojevich arrest, changing the wording in the Indictment and by not calling important witnesses such as Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine to the stand.
From the Chicago Tribune July 21, 2010.
“”I felt all along and believed all along that I was going to testify,” he said. But he said the government case wasn’t as they presented it, without calling witnesses Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Stuart Levine, both convicted in the federal probe.”
“”Sam Adam Sr.’s most compelling argument and ultimately the one that swayed me was that the government in their case proved my innocence,” he said. “They proved I did nothing illegal and that there was nothing further for us to add.””
“Adam Sr. said the government was missing star witnesses such as Rezko and Levine because they would take the stand and lie. “And everyone in the city knows it,” he said.”
Part 5 in a series on US Justice Department corruption in the Blagojevich trial and protecting Obama reveals the chicanery involved in not sentencing Tony Rezko and not calling him as a witness.
Blagojevich trial verdict, US Justice Department corrupt, Fix in, Obama protected, Trial shortened, Witnesses not called, Sam Adam Jr, Tony Rezko, Stuart Levine
Part 6 of this six part series was just posted on the Citizen Wells blog. Here are some exerpts.
“Out of this 91 page document, 38 pages are loaded with names and events tied to Rod Blagojevich from 2002 to the summer of 2008. Beginning on page 52 and to page 90 are references to Blagojevich shady dealings primarily from the summer of 2008 on.”
“It is clear from the facts, from the evidence that:
Rod Blagojevich should have been arrested and indicted by 2006.
The arrest of Blagojevich was delayed until after the 2008 election to protect Obama.
The shortening of the trial was designed to protect Obama and the Democrats.
The withholding of evidence and not calling witnesses such as Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine was designed to protect Blagojevich and Obama/strong> The theatrics playing out in court are likely to be a diversion to make it appear that the defense wanted Rezko and Levine to take the witness stand. Rezko and Levine know too much about both Blagojevich and Obama. That is why the Justice Department did not call them as witnesses.
We have confirmation from this apparent scheme and other revelations that the US Justice Department is corrupt.”
Part 1 Blagojevich: “I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”
Part 2 US Justice Department whistleblowers come forward
Part 3 Justice Department reveals agenda
Part 4 Patrick Fitzgerald complicit in corruption?
Part 5 Where is Tony Rezko?
Part 6 Trial shortened – Evidence omitted
Interesting that the ole’ pResident just went to Chicago before the jury made a final decision. I wonder what he had to do with the outcome of this trial…and having it declared a mistrial? They didn’t want any worse publicity about Obama and the gang just two months before the mid-term elections. Who got paid to pay this game?
Corruption reigns in Chicago, The Justice Department and in the White House.
I’m actually glad that they are going to have to retry Blago.
Because I want Jesse Jackson Jr brought to the stand and have to testify under oath about what he was doing in Marbella, Spain when Michelle Obama was there.
What would that have to do with Blago? Who would ask the question or think of it?
It wasn’t reported in the U.S. media, but it was reported in the Spanish media. Here’s a MicrosoftTranslator page showing the Spanish version on the left and the English version on the right… the translation states:
Blagojevich vows to appeal 1 conviction count
Aug 17 06:50 PM US/Eastern
CHICAGO (AP) – Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich vows to appeal his single conviction against him and says he’s the victim of persecution by the federal government.
Blagojevich spoke to reporters on Tuesday after a jury found him guily of one count of lying to federal agents. The judge declared a mistrial in the other 23 counts against him.
He told reporters that he wants the “people of Illinois to know that I did not lie to the FBI.”
Prosecutors had accused Blagojevich of trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat among other allegations. Blagojevich had maintained that he did no wrongdoing.
AP’s earlier story is below.
CHICAGO (AP)—Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich vows to appeal his single conviction against him and says he’s the victim of persecution by the federal government.
Blagojevich spoke to reporters on Tuesday after a jury found him guily of one count of lying to federal agents. The judge declared a mistrial in the other 23 counts against him.
Blago cheeps now and sings later? Is he sending a veiled warning that he better have that one conviction reversed? I hope Blago has it all on tape and information in a safe deposit box.
Blago Says, Like Winston Churchill, He Can Mount Dramatic Comeback
Rod Blagojevich Hints That Feds Were After Barack Obama
By MATTHEW MOSK and RHONDA SCHWARTZ
Aug. 20, 2010
Former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich recognizes that daunting challenges await as prosecutors prepare to mount a new effort to convict him on corruption charges, but he told ABC News Friday he sees a triumphant political comeback in his future that will be no less dramatic than the one pulled off by Winston Churchill.
If Churchill can comeback from something like that, when I’m vindicated, I certainly don’t write myself off.”
“This is a person determined to get his trophy,” he said of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
Blagojevich told ABC News that shortly after his 2008 arrest, investigators tried to convince him to offer damaging information on “folks in higher places” in exchange for lenience.
Blagojevich said that Obama, even more than himself, had a longstanding, close association with Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the Chicago real estate developer who had become the subject of his own federal probe – one that ultimately led to Rezko’s conviction on fraud and bribery charges. The former governor said his very first meeting with Obama, then about to join the Illinois senate, came by way of Rezko’s personal introduction.
Blagojevich said that in late 2008, having just arrived in his jail cell, investigators approached him for information.
“When they had me in custody they were very clear about they wanted me to cooperate and talk about people in higher places, and with all due respect to Mayor Daley, there’s no one higher than Governor,” he said.
“You’re talking about then president-elect Obama?” Ross asked.
“I’m not saying that right now.” Asked who else he could mean, Blagojevich shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Is it your impression they were thinking about Obama?” Ross pressed.
“I have my own personal opinion but from where I’m sitting right now it’s probably better for me not to talk about it.” He then grinned, “If I’m guilty of anything it’s that I talk too much.”
Rezko pleads guilty in restaurant sale scheme
Former Blagojevich backer still billed as ‘formidable witness’ in ex-governor’s retrial
Saturday, October 02, 2010
A onetime top fundraiser for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich who was already convicted of taking kickbacks from state contractors pleaded guilty Friday in a separate scheme involving the bogus sale of his pizza restaurants.
After the plea by Antoin “Tony” Rezko, his lawyer touted his client as “ready and willing” to be a “formidable witness” at Blagojevich’s retrial, though prosecutors didn’t put him on the stand for the former governor’s trial this summer. Rezko pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in connection with $10 million in fraudulent loans he arranged for business partners to buy a chain of pizza restaurants he owned in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Rezko pleaded guilty without a plea deal with prosecutors. U.S. District Judge James Zagel set sentencing for Dec. 19. Rezko has been in custody since a jury in 2008 convicted him of extorting millions of dollars from firms seeking state business or regulatory approval, even though he hasn’t yet been sentenced for that conviction.
Rezko’s attorney, Joseph J. Duffy, later made it clear his client would testify at Blagojevich’s retrial if prosecutors wanted him to take the stand. The jury in the first trial deadlocked on all but one count. “He is ready and willing to testify, and he would be a formidable witness, well corroborated by the government’s evidence,” Duffy said.
“He is ready and willing to testify, and he would be a formidable witness, well corroborated by the government’s evidence,” Duffy said.
Rezko would bring an insider’s perspective but also plenty of baggage, including his admissions to fraud Friday. Blagojevich’s lawyers likely would make much of a letter in which Rezko, after he was jailed following his 2008 conviction, claimed prosecutors wanted him to lie to implicate the former governor in wrongdoing.
“That creates a significant hurdle to his testifying for government,” said attorney Dean Polales, a former federal prosecutor. “It’s damaging to his credibility and of the credibility of the government’s case.”
But prosecutors will surely consider whether Rezko’s testimony could make a difference at the retrial, said attorney Patrick Collins, a former federal prosecutor who won the conviction of former Gov. George Ryan in 2006.
“One of the weaknesses of the case they put on in Blagojevich’s (first trial) was they had great (undercover) tapes of him talking, but the crimes weren’t completed,” he said. “Rezko can bring out historical (evidence) and talk about completed crimes.”
The defense “won’t be able to argue that it was just talk,” Collins said.
Judge drops 3 of 23 charges against Blagojevich
By Associated Press
February 24, 2011 Snips
Two racketeering charges and a wire fraud count against impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich were dropped at a pretrial hearing on Thursday in Chicago — as prosecutors bid to strengthen their cases by simplifying ahead of a spring retrial.
CHICAGO (AP) — Two racketeering charges and a wire fraud count against impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich were dropped at a pretrial hearing on Thursday in Chicago — as prosecutors bid to strengthen their cases by simplifying ahead of a spring retrial.
Prosecutors’ initiative to dismiss the three counts and defense lawyers’ agreement at the status hearing cuts the number of charges Blagojevich will face at his corruption retrial to 20 from 23. The trial is scheduled to start April 20.
If Fitzgerald goes to Washington, will political cockroaches like Blagojevich multiply?
March 17, 2011 Snip
The retrial is scheduled to start April 20, and Fitzgerald has his prosecution team streamlining the case.
And now Fitzgerald might be making a move, to Washington. He’s on the short list to replace Robert Muller as director of the FBI.
Whether he gets the job or not is something else again. I think Fitzgerald would like the post. Friends of his have been talking about it for years. He’s obviously qualified, and he has hunted crooked Democrats and crooked Republicans with equal gusto.
But would the Chicago Way White House — with mayoral brother Billy Daley as chief of staff to the president — want an uncontrollable Fitzgerald running the FBI for the next 10 years?
Who knows? Billy Daley is approving the short list being leaked out to the media, with Fitz’s name on it.
“He’s clearly the best qualified candidate for the FBI director’s post in the country, bar none,” said former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, no relation, who defied the Illinois Combine by installing the independent Fitzgerald in the job. It made them so angry that Sen. Fitzgerald was run out of Illinois politics as a result.
“It would be Chicago’s loss if Patrick Fitzgerald became director of the FBI,” the former senator said. “All sorts of characters in Chicago would be delighted if Patrick were promoted out of town. As FBI director, his responsibilities would be focused on a broad spectrum and he wouldn’t have time to focus just on Chicago.”
If the best exterminator leaves town, what will happen to all those political cockroaches? They’ll multiply. As in the old days.
Judge: Blagojevich motion to cancel retrial on corruption charges to “vanish into thin air”
Monday, March 21, 1:08 PM EST
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago says he doesn’t think a motion by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to cancel his upcoming retrial is serious and so he declined to formally rule on it.
Judge James Zagel told attorneys at a status hearing Monday that he doesn’t have the authority to simply call off a trial. He added he expects the motion “to go away by itself” and “vanish into thin air.”
The impeached governor’s attorneys filed the motion this month asking the judge to forgo a second corruption trial and proceed straight to sentencing on his lone conviction from his first trial. The impeached governor faces a maximum five-year prison sentence on the conviction of lying to the FBI. His retrial on 20 counts is scheduled to begin April 20.
Whooops! I hope this is good news.
BLAGO CONVICTED IN CHICAGO ON 17 of 20 COUNTS!
Updated: June 27, 2011 4:20PM
The following is a summary of criminal counts faced by ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The list includes the official charge, who or what was involved, the dates of phone calls recorded in 2008 when the criminal act is allegedly discussed and the maximum prison sentence he faces if he is found guilty of the count.
GUILTY. Count 1: Wire fraud: Children’s Memorial Hospital. This covers an unrecorded, Oct. 17 call in which Blagojevich tells Children’s CEO Patrick Magoon an increase in state payments for pediatric doctors would be approved as of Jan. 1. Prosecutors allege Blagojevich was shaking down Magoon for $25,000 in campaign contributions. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 2: Wire fraud: Senate seat. This count covers a Nov. 7 call from Blagojevich to Chief of Staff John Harris and pollster Fred Yang, where the three allegedly discuss requests for personal benefits for Blagojevich in exchange for appointing Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 3: Wire fraud: Senate seat. In this Nov. 10 conference call, Blagojevich and his advisors allegedly discuss requesting personal benefits for Blagojevich in exchange for the Senate seat appointment. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 4: Wire fraud: Senate seat. In a Nov. 12. call with Fred Yang, Blagojevich discusses the possibility of wealthy Democratic donors setting up a charitable organization, or 501c4, that he could head up, allegedly in exchange for appointing Jarrett to the Senate. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 5: Wire fraud: Senate seat. In this Nov. 12 call to union leader Tom Balanoff, prosecutors allege Blagojevich requested a 501c4 job in exchange for appointing Jarrett. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 6: Wire fraud: Senate seat. In another Nov. 12 call to Balanoff, prosecutors allege Blagojevich was requesting the 501c4 job in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett — and telling Balanoff to be careful about how he made the request on the governor’s behalf. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 7: Wire fraud: Senate seat. Prosecutors allege Blagojevich, in this Nov. 13 call with consultant Doug Scofield, requests the 501c4 job in exchange for making a Senate seat appointment. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 8: Wire fraud: Senate seat. Later that same day, prosecutors allege Blagojevich again requests Scofield ask for the 501c4 job in exchange for appointing someone to the Senate seat. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 9: Wire fraud: Racetrack executive. In this Dec. 4 call, prosecutors allege Blagojevich discusses extorting a racetrack exec for campaign contributions with friend and former chief of staff Lon Monk. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 10: Wire fraud: Senate seat. In this Dec. 4 call with Blagojevich, Yang and Deputy Governor Robert Greenlee, the three allegedly discuss getting “tangible, political support” — which prosecutors say was $1.5 million from supporters of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. — in exchange for appointing Jackson to the Senate seat. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
NO VERDICT. Count 11: Attempted extortion: Chicago Academy and then-U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel. Blagojevich allegedly demanded campaign contributions from Emanuel in exchange for making good on a promised state grant to a school in Emanuel’s district. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 12: Attempted extortion: Children’s Memorial Hospital. In exchange for approving a state payment increase for pediatric doctors, Blagojevich allegedly demanded campaign contributions from CEO Magoon. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 13: Solicitation of a bribe: Children’s Memorial Hospital. Alleges Blagojevich was soliciting campaign contributions from Magoon in exchange for the state money for doctors treating Medicaid patients at Children’s. Maximum penalty: 10 years.
GUILTY. Count 14: Extortion conspiracy: Racetrack executive. Blagojevich was allegedly conspiring with Monk to get campaign contributions from a racetrack executive by leveraging an unsigned bill on Blagojevich’s desk that would grant money to the racetrack industry. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 15: Conspiracy to solicit a bribe: Racetrack executive. Blagojevich and Monk allegedly conspired to get campaign contributions from a racetrack exec in exchange for signing the bill. Maximum penalty: 5 years.
NO VERDICT. Count 16: Attempted extortion: Illinois Tollway. Blagojevich allegedly demanded campaign contributions from road-building exec Gerald Krozel in exchange for giving state money to the Tollway. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
NOT GUILTY. Count 17: Solicitation of a bribe: Illinois Tollway. Prosecutors allege Blagojevich wanted campaign contributions from Krozel in exchange for approving a multi-billion dollar Tollway improvement plan. Maximum penalty: 10 years.
GUILTY. Count 18: Conspiracy to commit extortion: Senate seat. Blagojevich allegedly had an agreement with his brother Robert Blagojevich, chief of staff Harris and others to demand things of personal value in exchange for the Senate seat appointment. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 19: Attempted extortion: Senate seat. Blagojevich allegedly demanded things of personal value in exchange for the Senate seat appointment. Maximum penalty: 20 years.
GUILTY. Count 20: Conspiracy to solicit a bribe: Senate seat. Blagojevich allegedly had an agreement with Robert Blagojevich, Harris and others to solicit a bribe, including an offer of $1.5 million from Jackson supporters in exchange for the Senate seat appointment. Maximum penalty: 5 years.
Former Ill. Governor Rod Blagojevich found guilty in corruption trial
June 27, 2011
(CBS/WBBM/AP) CHICAGO – A federal jury found former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich guilty of 17 of the 20 counts he was accused of, including those related to trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat and other corruption charges.
Blagojevich was found not guilty on one count of bribery related to an alleged shakedown of the Illinois Tollway. Jurors could not agree on two other counts of attempted extortion, one in connection with the Illinois Tollway and another regarding a school for which he was trying to get funds, reports CBS station WBBM.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Blagojevich could face up to 300 years in prison, but experts say his sentence is likely to be closer to 10 years.
300 years ? That seems very harsh. I mean really, 300 years ? Manson people got less.
From CW’s: Did Blago totally miss his chance to throw MO and BO under the bus during his trial?
Rod and Patti Blagojevich throw Barack and Michelle Obama under bus
TWO DAYS BEFORE THE CONVICTION.. Reading this article makes it sound pretty lopsided in favor of the government for what was allowed on one side and not the other.
Blago defense already asking for a mistrial
But even before the 11-woman, one-man jury began its deliberations, Blago’s lawyers had already filed an “omnibus motion for mistrial” – noting that it was “not an exhaustive list of every error and impropriety” that occurred in presiding U.S. District Court Judge James B. Zagel’s courtroom.
One of the most explosive accusations in the motion for retrial is that the government “manipulated the system to have Blagojevich tried before this particular Court” – while making a “rare concession” to sever Republican fundraiser and Blago co-defendant William Cellini from the case. Cellini won’t go on trail until October.
Chicago Magazine quotes “one of the city’s prominent criminal defense attorneys” who thinks that the motion for mistrial has merit: “I think an appeal of this case would have legs, yes. Judge Zagel acted screwy. There’s not even a pretense of being fair. If the right judge gets this appeal, I think the conviction could be reversed. It’s hard to understand, too, because Zagel’s really one of the brightest judges on the bench. [Sustaining all those objections] is a problem.
Attorney remains anonymous because of his caseload. Conversation transcribed in article of June 23.
Expert Defense Lawyer: Blagojevich Has Grounds for Another Retrial – snip
Jun 23, 2011
CF: What about an appeal stemming from the second trial—would that have legs?
CDL: I think an appeal of this case would have legs, yes. Judge Zagel acted screwy. There’s not even a pretense of being fair. If the right judge gets this appeal, I think the conviction could be reversed. It’s hard to understand, too, because Zagel’s really one of the brightest judges on the bench. [Sustaining all those objections] is a problem. In this trial, you’ve either got a judge who is overreaching his authority or is not being fair, or, if you want to say that the defense was asking the wrong questions, you’ve got incompetent lawyers. Either way, Blagojevich deserves a new trial.
CF: How did Blago’s main defense lawyers [Goldstein and Sheldon Sorosky] do?
CDL: They did as well as they could. These are guys that are completely inexperienced. I don’t think that either one of those two have ever tried a case for 10 days in their whole life. [Sorosky told me yesterday that he has tried “many, many cases in federal court, and some lasted longer than 10 days.”] They never had a chance to be good or bad because they got the shit kicked out of them.
The Sun-Times reports that there is a gag order on the lawyers in the case.
Procedural error. Isn’t that what lawyers call it? This judge is usually fair? Hmmm. What could be different with this case above all others? Anybody leaning on certain people? We haven’t seen similar behavior over the past few years, in other courts, have we? No screwy things like, say, with the SCOTUS docket or two oaths of office or a SCOTUS judge laughing about how they’re avoiding the natural born citizen question?
I guess Patrick Fitzgerald never heard of some jerk going by the name of Barack Hussein Obama II running Boards in Chicago and moving on up to a mansion in Kenwood, Hyde Park, Chicago.
Its been 3 years since Rezko’s conviction with no sentencing.
What more do ya need to know?
Remember at one time we had such high hopes for Patrick Fitzgerald to bring BHO to justice? That was before his promotion by BHO. Those were the days, my friend.
I do remember. What a disappointment.