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items tagged with Rod Blagojevich

Smith’s Initial Defense Suggests a Blagojevich-Like Circus
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2012-05-06 12:03:59

Derrick SmithCall it “Blagojevich Lite,” or whatever else you want, but it became pretty darned clear last week that the attorneys for state Representative Derrick Smith are planning the same sort of mockery of the system that Rod Blagojevich’s legal team did during those dark days after the former governor’s arrest.

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Thinking Back on Blagojevich
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2011-12-11 11:40:03

“I ... I ... I ... I ... I couldn’t fathom what I would say to those two girls,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald stammered last week when asked what he would say to Rod Blagojevich’s daughters after our former governor was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

It was impossible not to think of those little girls last week. Even some of the most hardened, partisan Republicans I know felt no joy at Blagojevich’s long prison sentence because of those kids. I don’t know the children well, but I did spend some time with them a few years back and thought they were good kids, even normal kids, despite their father’s position at the time and the overall weirdness of their situation.

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Blagojevich Verdicts: No Harm, No Foul
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2011-07-03 11:15:32

While Rod Blagojevich’s jury found him guilty on 17 felony counts last week, jurors found him not guilty on one count and deadlocked on two others. Not much has been written about those other counts, so let’s take a look.

The paucity of electronic-surveillance evidence related to those verdicts, the lack of credible witnesses for the prosecution, and the absence of actual harm appeared to hurt the federal government’s case.

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With Blagojevich, Did the Clothes Sink the Man?
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2010-07-04 11:21:07

During the long, excruciating overtime state-legislative session of 2007, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan complained that Governor Rod Blagojevich had a habit of diverting high-level discussions from the budget and toward Madigan's ties.

Madigan, it should be said, does wear some eye-catching ties. He takes no credit for his taste in clothing, however. His wife, he says, picks his ties for him.

Speaker Madigan confided to me one day back then that whenever Blagojevich would compliment Madigan on his choice of ties, he would always complain that, as governor, he couldn't afford such fashion gems. Madigan has a lucrative law practice that brings in a pretty penny. Blagojevich couldn't do side jobs as governor, he would repeatedly explain to Madigan and everyone else in the room, so he couldn't afford to dress like Madigan.

The House speaker seemed quite frustrated at the time with Blagojevich's fixation on his fetching ties, rather than dealing with the budget deadlock and general political gridlock. After all, it wasn't like Blagojevich dressed poorly. He always wore sharp clothes. He even showed up at the State Fair once dressed in designer blue jeans.

Thanks to his federal corruption trial, we now know that it was taste, not money, that caused Blagojevich to wax envious whenever he saw Madigan wearing a pretty tie.

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Figuring Out Monk’s Motives in the Blagojevich Scandal
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2010-06-27 18:39:53

Lon MonkTo many Illinois-politics insiders, one of the more surprising aspects of this Rod Blagojevich saga is not that the former governor was arrested. Most of them knew for years that he was heading for big trouble.

The late Chris Kelly's alleged misdeeds as one of Blagojevich's top fundraisers didn't stir all that much surprise. He was a high-pressure fundraiser who wouldn't take "no" for an answer. The conviction of wheeler-dealer Tony Rezko also wasn't that far from expectations. The man was obviously up to his eyeballs in corruption.

But the name of the fourth person who prosecutors say was in on the alleged schemes to skim as much money as possible during the Blagojevich era has taken quite a few insiders aback.

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