Days before his brother goes on trial, again, for public corruption, Robert Blagojevich says questions remain about the roles of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. in an alleged scheme to appoint a United States Senator.
Robert Blagojevich was originally charged along with his brother, the impeached and former governor, but federal prosecutors dropped all charges against Robert after a jury failed to reach a verdict last August.
“I’m not going to comment directly but there are things that need to be explained,” Blagojevich said in terms of Emanuel’s role as a behind-the-scenes player in selecting a senator to replace Barack Obama. A former Congressman, Emanuel was the in-coming Chief of Staff to Obama and heading the transition.
As for Jackson, Blagojevich said of the 2nd District Congressman and emissaries who said they would raise $1.5 million in campaign funds: “There are people who the government interviewed and people around those central characters who should have been indicted instead of me.”
Asked if he was referring to Jackson, Blagojevich said, “Jesse Jackson, Junior and his emissaries.”
Both Jackson and Emanuel have said they have done nothing improper and prosecutors have made no allegations about either man.
As for his brother, whose trial begins Wednesday, Blagojevich says he believes him to be an innocent man.
The trial left Robert, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the army, scarred towards the government he once served.
“I viewed the government as my enemy,” he said during an interview at his Nashville, Tennessee home. “I was in a war with my government.”
Early on he said prosecutors approached him looking for what he said was a “global solution.”
“They used him (Robert) in this process to get to his brother,” said his wife Julie Blagojevich.
“And that’s a tactic and a strategy that disappoints me in my government,” Robert Blagojevich said.
Blagojevich came to Chicago in the fall of 2008 to run his brother’s re-election campaign.
At the time prosecutors were zeroing in on allegations that as governor, Rod Blagojevich was swapping political favors for campaign cash.
More than 400 hours of undercover audio recordings were made. At trial, Blagojevich says, the government played only selective portions to boost their case.
The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment on any of the charges leveled by Blagojevich.
Now back home in Nashville, it is more than just geography that accounts for the distance between Robert and Rod Blagojevich.
Asked if his brother ever expressed that he feels responsible for what happened to his family, Robert Blagojevich responded: “He’s fallen short on that.”
Why, he was asked?
“I can’t explain it. I can’t explain it.”