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The Charges Against Rod and Robert Blagojevich

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The Charges Against Rod and Robert Blagojevich
Jack Higgins
The Charges Against Rod and Robert Blagojevich

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CHICAGO - AUGUST 11: Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (C) and his wife Patti and attorney Sam Adam (L) leave the Dirksen Federal Building after being summoned by the judge while the jury deliberates in his corruption trial August 11, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Blagojevich has been charged with corruption while in office including accusations of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama after Obama's November 2008 election. The jury is asking Judge James B. Zagel for guidance as they have failed to come to agreement on some of the charges. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The former governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, and his older brother, Robert Blagojevich, were charged with a total of 24 crimes. Below, we itemize each of the counts, explain what the government alleged and fill in the verdict.

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Defendants:
Rod. R. Blagojevich, 53
Alonzo Monk, 51
John Harris, 47
Robert Blagojevich, 54

Charges:

Count 1: Racketeering (new) | Verdict: Hung
This is the overall racketeering count, where prosecutors outline the scope of the conspiracy.  They allege that as early as 2002, Blagojevich, Lon Monk, Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly, met and agreed they would use Blagojevich’s position as governor and Monk’s position as chief of staff for financial gain which would be divided among them. During the first weeks of the trial, Monk testified about the meeting. But, when asked to describe the meeting, Monk only could remember one alleged scheme that was outlined there. During the trial, prosecutors alleged the following events occured:

  1. In 2003, Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly, and Rezko planned to direct lucrative state business in pension bonds to a company whose lobbyist agreed to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rezko. Rezko was to then divide this money up with the others. This is where the government says Patti comes in. Rezko allegedly funneled some of the money to Blagojevich thru payments to Patti for realty work which was never done. Monk testified he also received payments, described as “cash gifts”, totaling between $70-$90,000.
  2. Kelly, Rezko, Bill Cellini, and Stuart Levine plot to steer Teachers’ Retirement System business to funds and law firms, in exchange for contributions to Blagojevich’s political fund.
  3. Ali Ata, an Illinois businessman, makes two $25,000 payments and gets a job as director of the Illinois Finance Authority.
  4. Blagojevich instructed Harris to find a job for Patti.  He wanted to put her on the Pollution Control Board, but Harris told Blagojevich she wasn’t qualified.  He then wanted her to get business from financial firms doing business with the state.  When two firms didn’t give her enough help, Harris said Blagojevich instructed him to cut them off from getting further state investments.
  5. Rahm Emmanuel inquires about a $2 million state grant for a north side school  Blagojevich wants Emmanuel’s Hollywood agent brother to hold a fundraiser in return.
  6. Children’s Memorial Chairman Patrick Magoon requests an increase in the Medicaid compensation rate for pediatric doctors.  Blagojevich directs an aide to ask Magoon to hold a fundraiser for $50,000. (note, this later changed to a request for $25,000 by the time Robert made followup calls).
  7. Racing executive John Johnston wants Blagojevich to sign a bill which extends a current law diverting some casino proceeds to Illinois racetracks.  Blagojevich balks at signing the bill while he wants Johnston to raise $100,000 in contributions. Lon Monk is the go-between.
  8. Blagojevich announces a $1.5 billion road building program for the tollway, but suggests to road association executive Jerry Krozel he could expand it to $6 billion.  Krozel is hit up for $500,000 in contributions.
  9. Blagojevich urges Harris to pressure the Tribune to fire members of their editorial board, as the parent company seeks state help in the sale of Wrigley Field.
  10. Multiple acts in exchange for appointment of a U.S. Senator.  Blagojevich “brainstormed” the possibility of appointing Emil Jones if Jones turned over the contents of his campaign fund (which he would no longer be able to use if he took the federal position); he thought he could convince Obama to make him Secretary of Health and Human Services, or possibly an ambassador, in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett; he explored the idea of going to work for the Service Employees Union in their national political arm, in exchange for appointing Jarrett; he wanted to start a national non-profit, which he wanted Obama to pressure billionaires to fund, in exchange for appointing Jarrett; he was approached by members of the Indian community, who said they would raise as much as $6 million, if he would appoint Jesse Jackson Jr.

Count 2: Racketeering Conspiracy | Verdict: Hung
Re-alleges all of the above, but with a charge of racketeering conspiracy.  This includes various acts “in furtherance of the conspiracy” (phone calls, meetings etc.)

Count 3: Wire Fraud (Rod) | Verdict: Hung
A wire fraud count.  Wire fraud can be something as simple as a phone call, but it needs to cross state lines.  This, specifically, was a phone call with the Children’s CEO Patrick Magoon in Florida, Oct. 17, of 2008.

Count 4: Wire Fraud (Rod & Robt.) | Verdict: Hung
Another wire-fraud count, this one involving a Nov. 1, 2008 phone call between Rod in Chicago and Robert in Nashville, talking about the tollway and racetrack deals, as well as the Senate seat.

Counts 5-11: Wire Fraud (Rod) | Verdict: Hung
Various wire fraud phone calls to advisors out of state, discussing the Senate seat.

Count 12: Wire Fraud (Rod) | Verdict: Hung
Another wire fraud count, a December 4, 2008 call to Lon Monk in Florida, discussing the campaign contribution from racetrack executive John Johnston.

Count 13: Wire Fraud (Rod) | Verdict: Hung
Another wire fraud count, a December 4, 2008 phone call between Rod and his deputy governor in Chicago, and an advisor in Washington, talking about the big campaign contribution support he would like to see from Jesse Jackson Jr. to make him a Senator.

Count 14: Attempted Extortion | Verdict: Hung
This is an attempted extortion count, relating to the effort to get Rahm Emmanuel’s brother to hold a fundraiser in exchange for awarding a state grant to a Chicago school.

Count 15: Attempted Extortion | Verdict: Hung
Another attempted extortion count, this one relating to Children’s Memorial.

Count 16: Bribery | Verdict: Hung
A bribery count, relating to Children’s Memorial.

Count 17: Extortion Conspiracy | Verdict: Hung
Conspiracy to commit extortion, relating to the racetrack legislation.

Count 18: Bribery Conspiracy  | Verdict: Hung
Conspiracy to commit bribery, relating to the racetrack legislation.

Count 19: Attempted Extortion | Verdict: Hung
Attempted extortion on the tollway expansion.

Count 20: Bribery | Verdict: Hung
Bribery on the tollway expansion.

Count 21: Extortion Conspiracy (new) | Verdict: Hung

Conspiracy to commit extortion, on various acts relating to the Senate seat.

Count 22: Attempted Extortion  | Verdict: Hung
Attempted extortion on the Senate seat.

Count 23: Bribery Conspiracy | Verdict: Hung
Conspiracy to commit bribery on the Senate seat.

Count 24: False Statements Forfeiture | Verdict: GUILTY
Lying to the FBI, during an interview March 16, 2005, where Rod said he maintained a “firewall” between politics and government, and that he did not track or want to know who contributes and how much they give him.


Penalties:

  • Racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, attempted extortion, and extortion conspiracy: 20 years, $250,000
  • Bribery: 10 years, $250,000
  • Bribery Conspiracy: 5 years, $250,000
  • False Statements: 5 years, $250,000

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