Blagojevich Blog: Breakdown of the Alleged Shakedowns

Rod Blagojevich (2005 appearance on Chicago Tonight)

Rod Blagojevich

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was charged with 24 counts of political corruption in April 2009. The first trial on those counts, which also included his brother Robert Blagojevich, began on June 8, 2010.

The verdict came down on August 17, 2010: Blagojevich was convicted of making false statements to the FBI, and the jury was hung on all 23 other counts. The charges against Robert Blagojevich were dismissed.

The second trial began on April 20, 2011. Racketeering charges against the former governor were dropped, reducing the number of counts to 20. The counts include wire fraud, extortion, bribery, conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to solicit bribes.

The 20 counts involve five schemes: the marquee allegation of attempting to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat; shaking down Children’s Memorial Hospital; shaking down the Illinois Road Builders Association; attempting to extort a race track owner; and attempting to extort then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

The following is a list of those schemes alleged by the prosecution with corresponding counts below. Underneath each count, you can listen to or read transcripts of FBI recordings that prosecutors have connected to each of these allegations. Rod Blagojevich maintains his innocence.

**Please use discretion as all tapes are raw, unedited material and may contain profanity.

You will need Adobe Reader to hear the audio. Download it here for free.**


Rod Blagojevich is accused of trying to use his power as governor to appoint a U.S. Senator in exchange for something of personal value, i.e. an appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services, a job with a not-for-profit 501c4 organization, or campaign contributions. Blagojevich never received any of these.


Artist: Thomas Gianni

Count 2Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Count 3Wire Fraud
FBI Recording
FBI Recording
FBI Recording

Count 4Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Count 5Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Count 6Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Artist: Thomas Gianni

Count 7Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Count 8Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Count 10Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Count 18Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Count 19Attempted Extortion
FBI Recording

Count 20Conspiracy to Accept Bribes
FBI Recording


Rod Blagojevich is accused of holding up a rate increase for pediatricians at Children’s Memorial Hospital, until the CEO of Children’s, Patrick Magoon, held a Blagojevich fundraiser to raise $25,000. The fundraiser was never held.

Count 1Wire Fraud

Count 12Attempted Extortion
FBI Recording

Count 13Soliciting Bribes


Rod Blagojevich is accused of holding up the signing of a bill giving race tracks a portion of casino revenues until the CEO of the Balmoral and Maywood race tracks, John Johnston, made a $100,000 campaign contribution. Johnston never made a contribution.

Count 9Wire Fraud
FBI Recording

Count 14Conspiracy to Commit Extortion
FBI Recording

Count 15Conspiracy to Solicit and Accept Bribes
FBI Recording


Rod Blagojevich is accused of dangling the possibility of a multi-billion dollar road building program in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to be raised by former Road Builders Association Chief Gerald Krozel. The money was never raised.

Count 16Attempted Extortion

Count 17Soliciting Bribes


Rod Blagojevich is accused of holding up a grant to the Academy for Urban School Leadership unless then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, held a fundraiser for Blagojevich. The fundraiser was never held.

Count 11Attempted Extortion

Madeleine Martino Fox contributed to this report.

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2 responses to “Breakdown of the Alleged Shakedowns”

  1. Julie says:

    Incredibly extensive and helpful breakdown. Thanks WTTW!!!

  2. Mary Hartsfield says:

    It an’t over to God say it’s over.
    Mary Hartsfield
    Governor Blagojevich Supporter