Blagojevich's Allies Continue to Fall

Few left to defend him

By Steve Rhodes
|  Thursday, Oct 22, 2009  |  Updated 1:40 PM CDT
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Dominos Falling On Blago

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is all alone.

And when they came to try Rod Blagojevich, there was nobody left to speak out for him.

The plea bargain by Blago's former law school roommate, groomsman and chief of staff Lon Monk means that nearly everyone in the former governor's inner circle is now set to testify against him.

And if Monk's plea agreement is any indication, the testimony will be devastating.

Just as the governor before him, George Ryan, was said by prosecutors to have put the State of Illinois up for sale, Monk's testimony to federal agents so far describes the political cabal surrounding - and including - Blago scheming to use state government to get rich.

Blagojevich is already down to the last, lonely defense used by so many others with nowhere else to go: Everybody else is lying.

It rarely works.

And in this case, it's almost inconceivable. Those liars would have to include Joe Cari, Stuart Levine, Tony Rezko, Lon Monk and John Harris. That's a lot of corroborating testimony. And then there are the wiretaps, the documents . . . and whatever other evidence prosecutors have developed.

Blagojevich is presumed innocent in a court of law, and even on The Daily Show and WLS-AM, but it's hard to presume him innocent out here in the real world.

The only Blago defenders left who have some involvement in the case are his brother, Robert, and co-defendant William Cellini. Don't look for Cellini to go out of his way to save Blago's skin.

Patti is there too, of course, but she hasn't been indicted - yet. And she may not be unless prosecutors want to take the Blago kids' mother away, too, but some legal experts have opined that she is certainly indictable based on the court record so far.

It must be very lonely for Blagojevich. No wonder he's feeding off friendly TV audiences these days. It's a legal-via-public relations strategy, to be sure, but it must also be one of the few ways he can feel good about himself these days.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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