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Tag: Gov. Blagojevich

Breaking News: Jury in Blago Case Says it’s Hung

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The federal jury in the public corruption case of Ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has told the judge its is deadlocked on all counts, according to the Chicago News Cooperative.

The Associated Press reported that they appeared to be hung on just some counts.

The jurors sent a note to the judge asking for guidance. The judge said he needed more clarification, the news cooperative reported. The judge summarized the content of the note in open court around 4:15, Chicago time.

“In a situation where jurors can’t agree on given counts, what should the next logical step be?” the jurors asked, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’ve gone beyond reasonable attempts without rancor.”

The jury has been deliberating for 11 days. Blagojevich was indicted on 24 counts including allegations that he tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

Chicago Prosecutors Fear Ex-Gov. Blago’s Lawyers Will Try for “Jury Nullification”

jury boxBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Chicago fed prosecutors in the upcoming political corruption trial of ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich are worried defense attorneys might go for “jury nullification” and ask jurors to ignore the facts of the case and acquit.

“The government respectfully moves this Court to preclude the defendants from arguing, or otherwise presenting evidence or pursuing lines of inquiry to illicit, jury nullification,” the government wrote in a motion filed Monday.

The motion anticipates a number of arguments the defense may present to jurors to get  jury nullification including “politics as usual”.

“The defendant may well suggest that the law is unfair or burdensome because their conduct is simply consistent with the way the political system is set up,” the motion states. “Likewise, the defendant may argue that their conduct is simply what all politicians do and, to the extent their conduct violates the law, the the law is unrealistic or unfair.”

“Such argument, which concedes the conduct but simply suggests to the jury that even if such conduct is technically illegal it is proper, necessary, or simply the way of life in politics, seeks jury nullification and should be barred.”

Read Govt. Motion on Jury Nullification

Blago Blasts Prosecutors and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

Ex-Gov Blagojevich and His Brother and Four Others Indicted in Chicago

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

The scandal is only getting bigger. All it will take is for some of the defendants to start talking and it will grow even more. Expect the ex-Gov to hit the airwaves denying guilt.

BY NATASHA KORECKI, CHRIS FUSCO AND STEVE WARMBIR
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — A federal grand jury today has lodged sweeping corruption charges against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, his brother, Robert, two former top aides, as well as a prominent Downstate businessman.

The 19-count indictment charges that corruption started under the former governor’s reign almost as soon as he was elected office in 2002.

Blagojevich himself was charged in 16 felony counts including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and making false statements.

Also charged as co-defendants were Alonzo Monk, Blagojevich’s former chief of staff; John Harris, his most recent chief of staff who is expected to be a witness in the case; chief Blagojevich fundraiser Christopher G. Kelly; and Springfield powerbroker William F. Cellini.

The 75-page indictment makes numerous references to the former governor’s wife, Patti Blagojevich, who got thousands of dollars from Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko, who was convicted on public corruption charges last year. She has not, however, been charged with any crimes.

“I’m saddened and hurt but I am not surprised by the indictment,” former Gov. Blagojevich said in a statement. “I am innocent. I now will fight in the courts to clear my name. I would ask the good people of Illinois to wait for the trial and afford me the presumption of innocence that they would give to all their friends and neighbors.”

For Full Story

Read Indictment

Gov. Blago Campaign Targeted Chicago Trib Owner for $25,000

The feds are interested in this part of the case and have interviewed Sam Zell, owner of the Chicago Tribune. Interestingly, it was the Chicago Sun-Times, the competing newspaper in town that broke this story. Thank goodness for two-newspaper towns.

BY NATASHA KORECKI, DAVE MCKINNEY AND DAVID ROEDER
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Tribune Co. chairman Sam Zell was targeted for $25,000 by the Blagojevich campaign last November while the company’s Wrigley Field deal was under consideration and two weeks before the ex-governor was arrested, internal campaign documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Zell’s name appeared on a Nov. 25, 2008, document titled “Focus List” among a group of 33 potential donors.

Alongside Zell’s name was the $25,000 figure and a notation that read: “Rod to follow up.” On a Sept. 22, 2008, fund-raising document titled “Call List,” an entry noted “Sam Party on 9.27.”

In another campaign document dated Dec. 3, 2008, Tribune Co. sports consultant Mark Ganis is listed among 143 names of potential donors for tentative or scheduled fund-raising events. Next to Ganis’ name are the notations “New York Event” and “Rod went to dinner on 9/19. Rob needs to follow up.”

The Tribune Co., parent of the Chicago Tribune, hired Ganis to help structure a sale of Wrigley. His name also appeared on the September call list next to a notation that read: “Patti and Rod dinner.”

Lawyers for the former governor and his brother, Robert, who headed his campaign fund, told the Sun-Times on Thursday they did not solicit Zell for cash during that time.

For Full Story

Breaking News: Ill. Senate Hears FBI Tapes in Blago Impeachment Trial

The Gov. Blago affair goes back and forth between highly entertaining and highly pathetic. And even if he’s removed from office, the show will go on. The man is an entertainer.

Fox News posts Blago-Meter

Fox News posts Blago-Meter

BY DAVE MCKINNEY, NATASHA KORECKI and CHRIS FUSCO
Chicago Sun-Times
SPRINGFIELD – Wiretaps of Gov. Blagojevich’s home phone and his former chief of staff’s cell phone allowed the world to hear for the first time this afternoon Blagojevich’s own voice allegedly discussing a shakedown of a potential campaign contributor.
Lon Monk, now a lobbyist, says on one of the tapes he got in the “face” of the potential contributor, horse racing executive John Johnston.
“I’m telling you, he’s gonna be good for it. I got in his face,” Monk tells the governor during a 9:09 a.m. call on Dec. 4, 2008.
Anticipation built in the moments before tapes were played for the first time in the Senate trial. The chamber grew quiet.
As senators listened to the four brief conversations, one senator chewed on his pen and looked ahead. Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora), smiled and shook his head as he heard the governor’s brother, Robert, tell Blagojevich that Johnston was “good for it” – an apparent reference to a $100,000 campaign contribution.

For Full Story

FBI Tape 1Transcript
FBI Tape 2Transcript
FBI Tape 3Transcript
FBI Tape 4Transcript

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Gov. Blago’s Yapping May Have Sent His Attorney Packing

Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich

It’s not unusual for lawyers representing politicians to tell them to keep their mouths shut. It’s not unusual for the clients not to listen, whether it’s a matter of ego or stupidity or a sense that the politician actually knows better.

By MIKE ROBINSON
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO— Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s chief defense attorney announced Friday that he is bailing out of the fraud and bribery case against the governor, strongly hinting that his embattled client refused to listen to his advice.
“I never require a client to do what I say, but I do require them to at least listen,” Edward Genson said. “I intend to withdraw as counsel in this case.”
Genson, who won renown in defending R&B star R. Kelly and former newspaper baron Conrad Black, dropped his bombshell announcement after a U.S. District Court hearing during which Chief Judge James F. Holderman released four wiretapped recordings of Blagojevich and his associates to the Illinois House impeachment committee.
Genson still needs to file paperwork with the court to formally withdraw from the case.
For Full Story

Illinois House Votes to Impeach Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich holds press confernce Friday After Impeachment Vote

Gov. Blagojevich holds press conference Friday After Impeachment Vote

The Blago circus continued today, and frankly, it was not a good day for him.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — The Illinois House of Representatives on Friday voted almost unanimously to impeach embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
A monitor shows Speaker Michael Madigan as the Illinois House debates the governor’s impeachment Friday.
The vote was 114-1, with three representatives not voting.
The matter now moves to the state Senate, which will try the case. A two-thirds vote in the Senate is required to remove the governor from office.
Blagojevich’s actions “show a public servant who is prepared to turn public service into an avenue for private benefit,” the chairwoman of the House impeachment committee, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said at the start of Friday’s impeachment debate.
“They show a public servant who has betrayed his oath of office, who has betrayed the public trust, who is not fit to govern the state of Illinois.”
For Full Story

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Burris Appointment Legit (CNN)

Homeland Security Strips Gov. Blagojevich of Access to Fed Security Info

Slowly authorities will strip the governor of his powers til there’s very little left.

By CARYN ROUSSEAU
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revoked embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s access to classified federal security information, officials said Friday.
The move withdraws the governor’s access to classified information, although Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said other individuals within state and local government have access and the head of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has usually been the main contact in emergencies.
The revocation was “pretty standard procedure,” Guerrero said, adding that such emergencies are rare.
“It hasn’t come up – I don’t think it’s something that comes up often,” he said.
IEMA received a memo about Homeland Security’s decision on Dec. 9, the day Blagojevich was arrested, said spokeswoman Patti Thompson. The memo was brief and did not include a reason for the action.
For Full Story