Author Archive

Blagojevich Arrives

Rod and Patti Blagojevich just arrived on the 25th floor of the Federal Building. When he passed waiting reporters, he asked me how I had done in a triathlon this weekend. I gave him a thumbs up and he replied, “hope I’m as lucky.”

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Blago Verdict

There is a verdict in the Blagojevich trial. Jurors sent the judge a note this morning saying they had reached a verdict on 18 counts but were unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 2 counts. Rod Blagojevich will be in the courtroom at 1:00 pm when the jury will announce its verdict.

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Breakdown of the Alleged Shakedowns

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 […]

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Prosecutor Breaks Down Charges

Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton continues to methodically detail the charges against Blagojevich this morning. She tells the jury to tie each charge to the basic question, “Did the defendant try to get a personal benefit in exchange for an official act?” She concludes by saying the evidence and the law command you to find him guilty. […]

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FBI and Gerald Krozel

FBI agent Jonathan Rauske testified that road builder Gerald Krozel told him that he never felt that the highway bill depended on his fundraising efforts. The FBI came to Krozel’s home the same morning Blagojevich was arrested on Dec 9, 2008. Krozel has testified that he was terrified when the FBI appeared at his door […]

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Bill Lipinski

Former congressman Bill Lipinski testifies that he never asked Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. for a $25,000 campaign contribution for Blagojevich when he was running for governor in 2002. Jackson testified earlier that Blagojevich had not appointed his wife Sandi to head up the state lottery in 2003. Jackson told the jury, “The governor snapped his […]

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Last Witnesses

Both the defense and the prosecution will bring up 2 witnesses this morning. The defense is expected to call former congressman William Lipinski and an Illinois Budget office employee The prosecutors are expected to call Richard. Olson and Eric Madsen, two executives from a Canadian road building company who met with Blagojevich in 2008. Blagojevich […]

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End in Sight

The defense just finished its redirect with Blago. The tedious questioning brought this response from Zagel: “This questioning reminds me of a witness who was asked what happened, said, ‘I got up, I got dressed, I tied my shoes, maybe I tied the left first or I tied the right one.’” The jury was out […]

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Prosecutors End on Jesse Jackson Jr.

Rod Blagojevich squirmed as Reid Schar pinned him down on the deal to appoint Jesse Jackson Jr. as senator in exchange for $1.5 million in Campaign contributions. “It was a bribe, wasn’t it?” asked Reid Schar. “I knew it was illegal and my brother rejected the offer three times,” replied Blago. Schar then read transcripts […]

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Road Builders Deal

Prosecutor Reid Schar is grilling Blagojevich on an alleged deal to get fundraising in exchange for a $6 billion road builders program. Blago is maintaining that the $6 billion program would have been a part of the capital bill that was being held up by Mike Madigan. Schar kept asking Blagojevich if Gerry Krozel felt […]

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Blago Charm?

Reid Schar continues to hammer on Blagojevich, but Blagojevich keeps his cool and even resorts to turning on his trademark charm. Schar asks him if he likes to deliver good political news in person. Yes, says Blago, we even made commercials when we had good news to tell the people. Looking right at Schar, Blagojevich […]

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‘I Didn’t Mean It’

Prosecutor Reid Schar is using the tapes to push Blago into admitting he wanted to trade the Senate seat for personal gain. Schar reads from a transcript and then asks, “You indicate if you got your million dollars for a 501c4, you would appoint Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat, yes or no?” Blagojevich replies, […]

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Was It A Trade?

Prosecutor Reid Schar has dialed back his emotional demeanor, but he is hitting Blagojevich hard on whether he said he would trade an appointment as Secretary of HHS for the appointment of Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat. Schar is pointing to taped conversations and asking if they meant he was linking the two. Schar […]

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Blago Smackdown

A clearly irritated Judge Zagel told Blagojevich he was disregarding the rules and sternly told him not to do it again. The rebuke came after Blagojevich once again pointed to asterisks in a transcript of a taped conversation and told the jury he couldn’t talk about what has been taken out. Zagel immediately dismissed the […]

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Blago Defends the Deal

“Everything was a deal,” Blagojevich told the judge without the presence of the jury. His lawyers were trying to convince the judge to let Blago defend himself by saying he thought everything he was doing was legal. But Judge Zagel ruled “that opinions about the legality is out.” You can say, said the judge, “that […]

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