Good News For Bloggers, Rod Blagojevich Is Back In The News!
As expected, Patrick Fitzgerald indicted Rod Blagojevich and multiple aides, including his own brother, on corruption charges including (but not limited to) the selling of Barack Obama's Senate seat.
Federal prosecutors expanded their case against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich today in an indictment that drew more of his closest aides into the scandal and adds new schemes to the list of charges against him: Pocketing money funneled through his wife through a phony real estate job. Shaking down a powerful congressman. Running the state as a racket.
Coming nearly four months after federal agents roused a sitting governor out of his Northwest Side home in a predawn arrest -- and weeks after lawmakers dumped him from power -- today's indictment of Blagojevich, his brother and four former top insiders could have been anti-climactic.
Instead, prosecutors added a few more chapters to the Blagojevich saga, further pulling his family into the pay-to-play conspiracy, revealing yet more confidants had turned on him and suggesting he was intent on corruption before he was even sworn in. The indictment carries a potentially lengthy prison sentence and possible forfeiture of his family home should Blagojevich be convicted [...]
Blagojevich was indicted on 16 racketeering, fraud and extortion counts. Among the new, damaging allegations were that Blagojevich delayed a $2 million grant to a public charter school while trying to extort campaign cash from now-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and threatened to withhold future state business from financial institutions that refused to hire his wife.
Blagojevich's effort to profit, both personally and for his Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund, was so pervasive that federal prosecutors labeled the racketeering scheme the "Blagojevich Enterprise."
When you have a nickname for your stealing, you're doing a lot of stealing.
More on the attempted shakedown of Rahm Emanuel here. For the record, Emanuel rejected it, and good for him. But his involvement in the case does mean that other things may come up in the discovery phase. At this point, however, I'll stress that Rahm looks clean.
The breadth of the corruption is pretty staggering, even for Illinois. Meanwhile Blagojevich was down at Disney World yesterday. Apparently, Fitz applied RICO statutes to some of this, meaning that the Feds could confiscate Blago's property. In short, he's in big trouble.