Coming In June: The Summer of Blagojevich

Rod Blagojevich’s flying circus continues this summer: a judge ruled today there will be no delay in the former governor’s trial.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich won’t be able to delay his trial on public corruption charges, a federal judge said today.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel said the trial should go forward as planned on June 3. He called a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision that could redefine a statute that some of Blagojevich’s charges are based on a “red herring.’’

“I don’t see any reason to continue this case,’’ Zagel said. “This is more than a year to acquaint yourselves with the evidence.’’

Last week, lawyers for the indicted governor made a formal request to continue the June trial to November, saying they’ve been snowed under by recently turned over evidence, and they still await the Supreme Court ruling. Prosecutors opposed any delay for Blagojevich, who debuted on the television show “Celebrity Apprentice’’ on Sunday. They said the ex-governor has had plenty of time to prepare for trial.

The circus comes to town in June.

Will Legal Wrangling Delay the Summer of Blagojevich?

Rod Blagojevich

Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers want to delay his trial five months. Scheculed to begin in June, that would push his trial’s start date to November, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Personally, I was looking forward to a summer with Rod. Rod TV. The Summer of Blagojevich.

You name it.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Federal prosecutors said today they oppose a bid by lawyers for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich to delay his corruption trial until November.

Blagojevich’s lawyers last week asked to postpone the trial from June 3 because the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to limit or throw out the “honest services” fraud law. They also cited a voluminous amount of evidence turned over by prosecutors in recent days.

In their filing Monday, prosecutors contended that neither argument by the defense is persuasive, “particularly in light of the strong public interest in resolving this case as expeditiously as possible.”

Blagojevich’s repeated public statements against the case have heightened that interest, the government contended.

“The charges in this case allege that the defendant engaged in a longstanding and pervasive abuse of his power as the governor of the state of Illinois,” the prosecution said. “The defendant has repeatedly and publicly challenged the legitimacy of the charges against him. As a result, the public has a strong interest in the expeditious resolution of the charges.”

Prosecutors argued that no matter how the Supreme Court rules on the “honest services” law, the underlying evidence against the former governor would remain the same at trial.

And so it goes.

I’m betting this request will be denied. The trial is on for June 3.

Unless I’m wrong.

Above is my favorite picture of Rod, BTW. Thanks to ENEWSPF for that.

Blagojevich Toe-to-Toe With Northwestern: NU Wins

Oh, Rod.

Why, oh why?

From the Blago Blog at the Sun-Times:

Rod Blagojevich’s closing remarks to Northwestern students had to do with his family.
"I’m real, what happened to me ain’t true. What happened to my wife and my two daughters — it’s a horrible, horrible thing.
"You can fight back. When you have the truth on your side — and the tapes — (laughter) you can fight back."
Going on about his life in politics, he says: "Thunderbolts come out of nowhere," he means this seriously but he’s met with loud laughter and sarcastic clapping. "Sometimes in life, you get your ass kicked."

First question from student — what’s his advice on ethics? "You’re going to laugh, but it’s true. Surround yourself with good lawyers."

The secret to good ethics is to have good lawyers?

Rod continues to dig himself in deep.

Read the Blago Blog.

Evidence Stolen in Blagojevich Case

I’d like to let this go without comment, but, well, it’s Blagojevich.

Evidence stolen from his attorney’s office?

From the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago police were investigating a burglary at the offices of attorneys for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in which at least one computer containing undercover recordings from the sweeping corruption case was stolen, sources said.

The break-in took place about 4 a.m. at the law offices of Sam Adam and his son, Sam Adam Jr., in the 6100 block of South Ellis Avenue, police and Sam Adam Jr. said.

Contrary to early statements by a police News Affairs officer who referred calls regarding the burglary to the FBI, the FBI is not involved in the investigation, FBI Chicago office spokesman Ross Rice said in a statement.

The burglars set off an alarm but escaped the area. Investigative sources said there are no suspects.

Chicago police said eight computers and a safe were taken from the office, but they could not say what information the computers contained.

"It could be a happenstance burglary. All leads will be followed," said Chicago Police Deputy Supt. Steve Peterson.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago declined to comment on the incident or the theft of evidence in the case.

It is unclear if the burglary could delay Blagojevich’s trial scheduled for June.

This just sounds too convenient.

The Terrible Tragedy of Chris Kelly’s Death

I absolutely feel nothing but profound regret learning of the death of Chris Kelly, one of the ex-governor’s closest friends and advisers.  I fear that this terrible tragedy is only harbinger of things to come in the weird mess that is Rod Blagojevich’s soap opera.

I can’t even comment on Blago’s response in the aftermath of Kelly’s death, today ruled a suicide by Country Club Hills police.

From the Sun-Times:

Country Club Hills police confirmed today that Chris Kelly — a one-time top aide to former Gov. Blagojevich — committed suicide Saturday.

No one else is believed to have been involved in his death.

The political insider, who sources said ingested an “extraordinarily large dose of aspirin,’’ did so in a construction trailer in a lot where he kept construction equipment, police said.

A sleeping bag, photos of his three children, an empty bottle of Aleve, and an unopened box of rat poison were found at the scene near 173rd and Cicero, police said.

How tragic.  What a terrible way to go.

And it’s not over.  The legacy of Rod Blagojevich is shrouded in the blood of his friends.

From the Chicago Tribune:

[Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina] Evans said the suburb’s investigation has concluded the death “was an apparent suicide” and no one else was involved. “There is no evidence whatsoever of involvement by other persons.”

The chief said a friend of Kelly’s gave police a note that may have been written by Kelly. She stopped short of calling it a suicide note, and declined to describe its contents in deference to Kelly’s family. 

Evans described the note as rambling and “personal in nature,” but not addressed to anyone in particular.

She said it hasn’t even been confirmed it was written by Kelly, but the “implication was it may have been.” The note has been sent to the state crime lab for analysis, she said.

What a mess.  Thanks, Rod.  Continue to argue for your innocence.

But, remember, Rod, the death of Chris Kelly is now your legacy.

Roland Burris Sees the Writing on the Wall

I’m not going to bash Sen. Roland Burris over his decision to not seek election to the United States Senate. I actually have come to believe that he just wanted to be a senator, but arrived in office entirely the wrong way. Did he permit ambition to blind his judgement? You bet.  We know he has an ego.  Many pols do.  However, having an ego is not a crime.

From Michael Sneed at the Sun-Times:

Sneed has learned that U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has decided not to seek election to a seat he fought the government to keep.

•      •      To wit: Burris, whose decision to vie for Barack Obama’s seat landed him in the midst of a federal pay-to-play corruption probe of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, decided to end his 20-year political career at the end of his term — “because he was primarily concerned about his legacy,” a source close to Burris told Sneed.

•      •      Translation: “After 20 years in government service, Burris didn’t want the last four months in office to be that legacy,” the source said.

Finances also contributed to Burris’ decision, according to Sneed.  No doubt.  I would wager there were a few behind-closed-doors conversations with Democratic congressional leaders.  Like it or not, Burris is tainted because of Blagojevich.  Illinois needs a fresh start.

Who will claim the powerful seat?

My money is on Alexi Giannoulias.  Time will tell.

Coming Next June: The Summer of Blagojevich

For all of you hungering for All-Things-Blagojevich, next summer you will have your fill.   For those on the 24-hour news cycle, working hard to serve us up mush all day, all the time, there will be more than enough for them to throw on screen.

The Rod Blagojevich Reality Show will be in its final season when the former governor’s trial commences June 3, 2010.

From our friends at the Southtown Star:

A federal judge on Thursday set a June 3, 2010, start date for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s trial on charges of scheming to sell or trade President Obama’s U.S. Senate seat and pressure potential campaign contributors.

Defense attorneys said that despite millions of pages of documents still to be read and hours of FBI wiretap tapes still to be heard, they would be ready when the curtain goes up almost a year from now on the second spectacular corruption trial in five years of a former Illinois governor.

“We have the best judge in the entire system – everyone has always told me that – and if he says to be ready by June 3 we’ll be ready by June 3,” Blagojevich’s most outspoken defense counsel, Samuel E. Adam, told reporters about U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel.

Blagojevich is charged with racketeering conspiracy and other offenses. Prosecutors say he schemed to exchange Obama’s former Senate seat for campaign money, a seat in the Obama Cabinet or a lucrative job for himself or his wife.

They say he also illegally plotted to pressure various people – a racetrack owner, a hospital administrator and even White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel – for contributions to the Friends of Rod Blagojevich campaign fund.

Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty.

Gotta love defense attorneys, already trying to make nice-nice with the judge.

So, if you had some doubt that Illinois might drop out of the news except for reports in the national media on Chicago weather, no such luck.  As Cypher said in The Matrix, “…buckle your seatbelt, Dorothy, ’cause Kansas is going bye-bye.”

Rod Blagojevich Goes to Second City – Video

Rod Blagojevich went to Second City this evening to watch a production … about himself.

From WGN Chicago:

The show has been a hit since it opened in April. The theater company has been clamoring to get the man himself to the show and there he was, next to the stage.

Some in the audience say after the media blitz here in Chicago and New York, it wasn’t that big of a stretch to have him here tonight. With his wife in Costa Rica, he has taken a backseat.

Blagojevich said he has never seen the profanity-laced production before tonight.

How the mighty have fallen, and fallen, and fallen…

Rod Blagojevich’s Flying Circus

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

This time, Blago is really flying. 

When I first saw the video above, I thought I was watching an actor playing Blago. Turns out it was Himself, suspended in front of a green screen, arms and legs out of control.

Rachel Maddow had a blast with the footage of Blago flying:

The Illinois Legislature must be laughing hysterically. (If you’re accessing this post from one of our affiliates, click here to watch the videos.)

I have to admit, I was starting to feel sorry for Rod Blagojevich.  Then I remembered his intransigence as governor, how he ignored the legislature, governed by press conference, laughed when I told him we need school funding reform.  And then there’s that senate seat and the indictment.

And then I saw this video: Blago, trying to fly, in a suit.

In a suit, Rod? Really?

Look: Rod Blagojevich wants to make a lot of money, fast.

Strike that.

Rod Blagojevich needs to make a lot of money, fast.  Also, Rod Blagojevich lives for the camera.  In a way, he reminds me of Estelle from Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit.  Estelle, recently deceased, shares with her new acquaintences in Hell — or wherever they are — that when she was alive, she made sure to always position herself in front of a mirror.  Why?  Estelle needed to see herself in a mirror… so she knew she existed.

Blago reminds me of Estelle.  All cameras, all the time, or he fades in real life.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

On Friday, Illinois’ ex-governor was filmed suspended in midair, flying before a giant green screen.

Blagojevich was in Los Angeles Friday promoting “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here,” an NBC reality TV show that a judge said he couldn’t join. That’s because the series will be filmed in Costa Rica and the charged ex-governor cannot leave the country due to bond restrictions. But on Friday, Blagojevich’s PR agent released a statement saying that actor Stephen Baldwin was willing to fly to Chicago and ask a judge to “Leggo my Blago.” (Or, ask U.S. District Judge James Zagel’s permission to go to Costa Rica.)

“I would love for Blagojevich to be on the show,” Baldwin said in a statement. “He would add intensity and spice.”

Welcome to the party, Rod.  We all need a lot of money, fast, right now. Let Stephen Baldwin find another Spice Guy.

Rod Blagojevich’s Last Campaign: Will You Buy His Book?

Rod Blagojevich, who former State Rep. now Judge George Scully said tried “to solve every problem by campaigning,” now wants to write a book and tell you about the “dark side.”

Yup.  This is Blago’s last campaign, the one where he either saves himself, or takes everyone he’s ever spoken with down with him.

The man has not had an unspoken thought since he was elected, and now, many of them have been recorded for posterity, and the jury.

From the Sun-Times:

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is vowing to expose “the dark side of politics that he witnessed in both the state and national level” in a book due out in October, his publicist announced today.

The publicist, Glenn Selig, said Blagojevich signed the “six-figure book deal” with Phoenix Books, “run by maverick publisher Michael Viner.” The working title is The Governor.

The Captain of the Dark Side has more to say, apparently. Will you be mentioned in Rod’s tell-all?

Selig described the planned book as a tell-all. The governor, according to a news release, will write about the discussions, the considerations and the factors involved in picking President Obama’ s successor to the U.S. Senate.

“The governor chose to go with a large independent company because he wanted to tell his story without any restrictions over content that might’ve come with a major publishing house,” Selig said in the release. “He simply did not want to accept constraints or conditions on what he could say in this book.”

Selig said Blagojevich won’t “pull any punches” and plans to “reveal information and provide insights that will at times be embarrassing to himself as well as to others.”

“There were some people in high places who didn’t want the governor to write this book and worked to try to squash a book deal,” Selig said.

Well, we’ll see about that.  Blago can say anything he wants, now.  The loosest cannon Illinois ever produced has is now spinning full-speed.