The Blagojevich Indictment Round-Up
By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 3, 2009 3:40PM
Blago at Disney, via WESH video
Yesterday evening, the other shoe dropped and Rod Blagojevich and five others were indicted on a wide range of fraud and corruption charges. The indictment contains 19 charges in all against Blagojevich, his brother Robert, former Chief-of-Staff John Harris, former adviser Lon Monk, former fundraiser Christopher Kelly, and power broker William Cellini. Here are some of the highlights from the news surrounding the indictments.
- First, start off by checking out the 75-page indictment for yourself. [PDF]
- If you're looking for a cheat sheet for easy reference, here's a great breakdown [PDF via WLS] of each charge, who's been charged with what, and what the penalties are. Blago leads the group with 16 charges while Kelly is second place with four charges.
- It seems that John Harris is talking and cooperating with the feds. With just one wire fraud charge against him, his information could go a long way to helping get him off the hook. Harris, if you recall, was arrested at the same time Blago was in December. Harris' attorney, Jim Sotos, says Harris has admitted to making "inappropriate comments" during a conversation with Blago regarding filling President Obama's then-vacant U.S. Senate seat. [WBEZ]
- Blago issued the following statement upon the indictment: “I’m saddened and hurt but I am not surprised by the indictment. 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.” [Sun-Times]
- "Congressman A" in the indictment, allegedly extorted by Blago & Co., seems to be Rahm Emanuel. Blago allegedly threatened to hold up a $2 million grant for Chicago Academy, a school in Emanuel's then-district, unless Rahm got his Hollywood producer brother Ari to throw a campaign fundraiser for Blago. [Sun-Times, Tribune]
- While Patti Blagojevich wasn't charged with anything in the indictment, the feds say they have new evidence against her, claiming she received tens of thousands of dollars in unearned real estate commission from Tony Rezko, who has been cooperating with the feds since his conviction last year. [Tribune]
- Governor Quinn's reaction to the indictment: "The events of Dec. 9th and the events of today underline for the people of Illinois that there is a serious crisis of integrity in our government, and I think it's very, very important that we the people confront this crisis, enact the reforms that will solve the problems and make sure they never happen again." [Sun-Times]
- One Orlando TV station tracked down the Blagojevichs at Disney World yesterday.