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Rod Blagojevich Indicted

April 2, 2009

We all knew it was going to happen, and lets face it, it could not happen to a more colorful or corrupt individual.

Impeached former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested in December on charges of conspiracy and fraud, was indicted Thursday on 16 felony counts by a federal grand jury, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The 19-count indictment charges Blagojevich and some of his closest aides and advisers with a wide-ranging “scheme to deprive the people of Illinois of honest government,” according to a statement by the attorney’s office.

Blagojevich, 52, faces charges including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to investigators, according to the release. Three counts in the indictment are against the aides and advisers.

In a written statement, Blagojevich maintained his innocence — as he has done throughout a political soap opera that captivated the nation.

“I’m saddened and hurt but I am not surprised by the indictment,” he said. “I am innocent. I now will fight in the courts to clear my name.”

The indictments are damning.

Blagojevich could face as much as 20 years in prison and $1 million fine if convicted.

The 75-page indictment repeats all the charges listed in the criminal complaint, including the governor’s alleged attempts to sell President Obama’s old Senate seat to the highest bidder, and also adds several new charges.

The charges are part of a wide-ranging public corruption investigation of “pay-to-play” schemes out of the governor’s office, where influence and access were allegedly routinely exchanged for campaign contributions.

A statement from the office of Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said Blagojevich allegedly used his office to “seek or obtain such financial benefits as money, campaign contributions, and employment for himself and others, in exchange for official actions, including trying to leverage his authority to appoint a United States Senator….”

The indictment includes charges that Blagojevich threatened to withhold state assistance to the Tribune Company unless the company fired several editorial board members critical of the governor.

It also alleges that the governor threatened to withhold $8 million in state Medicaid reimbursements to Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital until the hospital’s executive donated $50,000 to his re-election campaign.

One Comment
  1. Thomas J Canton permalink
    April 3, 2009 10:24 AM

    To quote Homer Simpson: WOO-HOO!!!!

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