That’s gotta hurt

Arrested Illinois governor released after Senate seat scandal:

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested today on charges he brazenly conspired to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder in what a federal prosecutor called a “corruption crime spree.”

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told a news conference prosecutors make “no allegations” Obama was aware of any alleged scheming.

Obama said today he is saddened by allegations that Blagojevich tried to trade favors for the Senate seat and said he had no contact with the governor or his office on the matter.

Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field, according to a federal criminal complaint. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper’s editorial board who had been critical of him fired.

“We were in the middle of a corruption crime spree and we wanted to stop it,” Fitzgerald said today, calling the corruption charges against Blagojevich “a truly new low.”

Federal investigators bugged the governor’s campaign offices and placed a tap on his home phone and Chicago FBI chief Robert Grant said even seasoned investigators were “stunned” by what they heard on the tapes.

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said the governor’s office did not have immediate comment on the charges but issued a statement saying the “allegations do nothing to impact the services, duties or function of the state.”

A federal judge this afternoon ordered Blagojevich released on his own recognizance.

U.S. District Judge Nan Nolan said “Good afternoon, governor” in greeting Blagojevich at the bond hearing. The governor was wearing sweat pants, gym shoes and an athletic shirt.

He was released on a signature bond that specifies that he’ll forfeit $4,500 bond if he doesn’t appear in court. Blagojevich also was ordered to relinquish his passport and his firearm owner’s identification card.

Read the whole thing, and remember that this is the political machine that produced The One.

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One Response to “That’s gotta hurt”

  1. Blagojevich has been so successful at making himself and his office look ridiculous that about a million people are now able to remember and maybe even spell his crazy name — that’s sort of like an accomplishment, right?

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