Former first lady Patti Blagojevich says a new Bruce Rauner commercial featuring her husband’s voice, underlines an argument she and the Blagojevich lawyers have been making for years---that all of the unplayed undercover tapes from the former governor’s trials should be played.
The commercial is an attempt to link Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker to Blagojevich, through an undercover conversation where the two are heard speculating about the possibility of a Lisa Madigan appointment to the Obama senate seat.
Problem is, the tape was one of dozens which were never played in open court. And un-played tapes are supposed to remain under the FBI’s lock and key.
“For the last nine years, the truth has been under seal,” Patti Blagojevich told NBC 5. “And what concerns me now is the truth is coming out in bits and pieces, and who’s allowed to do it?”
For years, Blagojevich and his legal team have contended there were un-played undercover tapes which were exculpatory in nature, and would have proven that the former governor was trying to do the right thing in filling the senate seat. During repeated hearings, Judge James Zagel refused their efforts to play dozens of tapes, branding them irrelevant or hearsay.
“You know Rod contended all along that he was trying to make a deal with Mike Madigan for the people of Illinois for health care and a capital bill,” the former first lady said. “Had tapes like the ones that you heard in the Rauner ad actually been played in court, I’m sure you would have had a vastly different outcome, because the jury would have been able to see that he was telling the truth!”
A sub-current of the Rauner ad controversy involves questions over how the un-played tapes were leaked. The portion used in the commercial was part of an 11 minute montage featured by the Tribune last year.
How the Tribune got those tapes, is not entirely clear.
“That particular tape was never played at trial,” Joe Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed. “We are working on it also---we want to know who gave it out.”
Fitzpatrick said it did not come from anyone in the U.S. Attorney’s office, and noted that copies had been distributed to all legal teams involved in the two Blagojevich trials.
“And that includes paralegals, their investigators, a lot of people get their hands on these,” he said.
However the tapes came to be in the public eye, Patti Blagojevich insists her husband’s legal team should be allowed to release all of the tapes which the public never heard.
“Everyone heard the parts of the tapes that the government wanted put into evidence,” she said. “What about the ones we wanted put into evidence that would have exonerated my husband?”