Blagojevich: Someone is lying, and it's totally not me
Beleaguered former Illinois governor and Elvis impersonator Rod Blagojevich took to the airwaves today to promote a new book called "The Governor," which Blago says will prove his innocence. It's going to have to one heck of a book.
Over the past year, Blagojevich has been charged with 16 counts of corruption, including wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, racketeering conspiracy, attempted extortion, and making false statements to federal agents.
Federal prosecutors allege that Blago tried to sell the US Senate seat vacated by President Obama, demanded the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial writers in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, and engaged in pay-to-play corruption schemes.
But speaking on the set of CBS's "The Early Show" Tuesday (video below), Blagojevich denied wrongdoing, instead flipping the blame on his accusers. "Not only does he have it all wrong, but [the allegations are] a mutilation of the truth," Blago said of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who brought the initial charges against the governor.
At one point, "Early Show" host Harry Smith pressed Blago to discuss the substance of the allegations. "So you're not corrupt," Smith asked, "there is no corruption, there was never any corruption in your administration?"
"I have never done anything that would be a crime or even intended to be a crime," Blagojevich replied. "When all of the taped conversations are heard, that will be proven to be true. I will be fully vindicated."
Later, he told Smith that he was "the anti-Nixon, asking that these tapes be heard. My accusers are the ones who went to court and are keeping those tapes from being heard by the public. Someone's lying here, and it's not me," Blago said.
Blagojevich was forced out of office earlier this year. Ironically, he ran for governor in 2003 as a reformer, promising to clean up the mess left by his predecessor, Republican Governor George Ryan. Ryan is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for racketeering and fraud.
AP photo of dying Marine draws fire from Pentagon
"The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency," Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said of the publication of the image.
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