How dysfunctional was Rod Blagojevich's administration?
Letters obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show that even the then-governor's aides weren't always fans of Blagojevich's governing style.
The letters, written to Judge James Zagel to push for leniency in the sentencing of Blagojevich's former chief of staff John Harris, spoke of highly unusual behavior by the former governor. Aides described actions they said made it very hard for Harris to stay out of trouble.
A letter written by Blagojevich's last chief of staff, Clayton Harris III, told a story of "an episode where I was directed to fire the entire legal department because they lacked the professionalism that the governor believed should have been exhibited."
Harris III, no relation to John Harris, said Blagojevich then ordered him to hire [an unemployed lawyer] he met in line at Starbucks to be chief legal counsel of the State of Illinois," according to the Sun-Times.
That same letter describes John Harris as being caught between his superior and chaos. Even Judge Zagel said at the sentencing he couldn't say for sure that he wouldn't have behaved the same way if he were in Harris' position.
Another letter, from Blagojevich’s state police director Larry Trent, described how Blagojevich wanted to ride along with state troopers to fight crime. In yet another letter, a longtime executive assistant to Blagojevich said Blagojevich “basically would wear a person down.”
In the end, Zagel sentenced Harris to 10 days in prison.
"I can't tell you that if I were in your position the results would have been any different," Zagel told Harris. "But I would have left sooner."
Harris also will have two years of supervised release.