Six revelations about former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich
The prosecution's document detailing charges, released Wednesday, show Rod Blagojevich's power plays started the moment he took office as Illinois governor. His wife and influence peddler Antoin 'Tony' Rezko are alleged to be involved, too.
A 91-page document released Wednesday outlines the detailed case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is charged with several counts of racketeering, extortion, and bribery in, among other things, an attempt to sell President Obama’s vacant US Senate seat.Skip to next paragraph
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The document outlines the prosecution’s case, providing new revelations that elevate the role of convicted Illinois influence peddler Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Patti Blagojevich, Mr. Blagojevich’s wife, who is described as being on the payroll of Mr. Rezko’s real estate companies though she did no work there.
The document does not include full transcripts of tapes Blagojevich has insisted he wants made public. In a statement Wednesday, Blagojevich said, “It’s the same old false allegations and lies. I’m looking forward to trial so the truth comes out and everyone will see that I am innocent.”
The Blagojevich trial is scheduled to start June 3. Here are six revelations about Blagojevich et al alleged in the prosecution document.
1. Blagojevich’s wrongdoing started the moment he took office after his election in 2002.
Prosecutors say Rezko and campaign adviser Christopher Kelly had “significant influence over aspects of state government.” This included interviewing and recommending "big fundraisers" and others who would benefit Blagojevich's ultimate "aspirations beyond being governor" as candidates for various boards and commissions or as consultants. Lon Monk, Blagojevich’s then-chief of staff, who is cooperating with prosecutors, was instructed to carry out their recommendations.
2. Investment firm and Blagojevich fundraiser Bear Stearns was awarded the opportunity to refinance $10 billion in state pension bonds.
As early as 2002 – before Blagojevich was elected – prosecutors say Blagojevich and his inner circle conspired to design ways to collect “finder’s fees” or other revenue from deals with people who were awarded business with the state. The first such extortion deal, the document says, involved Bear Stearns, which provided the governor and his cronies the opportunity to funnel about $450,000 to Rezko companies.