Opening Statements Mark the Beginning of the End of the Rod Blagojevich Show | NBC Chicago
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Opening Statements Mark the Beginning of the End of the Rod Blagojevich Show



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    Rod Blagojevich shakes hands as he arrives for trial on corruption charges.

    After 18 months of reality show appearances, radio-show screeds, and insistence to anyone-on-the-outside-who -would-listen that he was innocent, Rod Blagojevich finally faces a jury of his peers today.

    Since his arrest in December 2008, the former governor has been impeached and removed from office; he wrote a book;  he appeared on one reality show but was stopped by his judge from appearing on another in the Costa Rican jungle (he sent his wife instead).

    He hosted a radio show and debated the merits of "Viva Las Vegas" on stage.  He even performed as Elvis at a block party for money.

    The public became all too familiar with  the stump speech which Blagojevich delivered weekly on WLS, during numerous appearances on "The View," and even in front of Donald Trump:  "I was unjustly charged; I was illegaly removed from office against the will of the voters who elected me twice; play all the tapes."

    Those tapes, the thousands of hours of secret government recordings will, according to prosecutors, give those voters a disturbing look at Rod Blagojevich's wheeling and dealing world:  alleged efforts to shake down a children's hospital, a race track owner, and a road builder for campaign cash; an attempt to blackmail the Chicago Tribune into firing their editorial board; and most shocking of all to nation at large, efforts to sell President Obama's senate seat to anyone who could make Blagojevich's post gubernatorial life more comfortable.

    Blagojevich and his attorneys contend everything can and will be explained; that most is simply the ugly side of politics, or the horse-trading which was necessary to get good programs past a recalcitrant legislature.

    It has indeed, been a long, strange, trip for Rod Blagojevich. And the home stretch of that trip, begins today. 

    Full Coverage:The Trial of Rod Blagojevich