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Cost Of Blago Defense To Be Passed On To Us?

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 5, 2010 3:40PM

Painting By The Magical Lauri Apple
Now that he's done with Celebrity Apprentice, former governor Rod Blagojevich can get back to focusing on that pesky little federal trial of his coming up this summer. But as the preparation continues, it's looking more and more likely that Team Blago will dip into taxpayer funds to pay for his defense. Right now, all the fees - including Blago's attorneys' fees of $110 per hour - are being paid by his campaign fund which stood at $2.8 million upon his arrest in December 2008. U.S. District Judge James Zagel put limits on the spending and the attorneys' fees while allowing the team to tap those funds.

And yet with the trial still two months away, the team has spent half that cash and, as Natasha Korecki reports for the Sun-Times, is very likely to burn through the rest of it well before the trial is over. Once that balance hits zero, the money for his defense will then come from taxpayers funds. How much of that money they'll use remains to be seen: one of Blago's attorneys estimates it'll be less than $500,000. If there's one thing we can take solace in, it's that the decision by Judge Zagel seems to have minimized whatever costs will eventually wind up being paid by the taxpayers. Guess he hasn't made much in the way of profits from that book of his.