Blagojevich sentencing, Patrick Fitzgerald sentencing memorandum reveals much, Blagojevich prosecution delayed, Obama protected, Live coverage
“The citizens of Illinois deserve public officials who act solely in the public’s interest, without putting a price tag on government appointments, contracts and decisions.”…Patrick Fitzgerald
“I was not going to wait until March or April or May to get it all nice and tidy” “I think that would be irresponsible.””…Patrick Fitzgerald
“Governor Blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree. We acted to stop that crime spree.”…Patrick Fitzgerald
“I just think it’s very, very disturbing that we have these pay-to-play allegations going on for years.”…Patrick Fitzgerald
“By way of comparison, Antoin Rezko,…received a sentence of 126 months imprisonment for corrupt activity that he
engaged in directly with Blagojevich or with Blagojevich’s tacit approval. Yet, Rezko:
(a) held no elected office of trust;”…Patrick Fitzgerald Sentencing Memorandum
The 2 day sentencing hearing for Rod Blagojevich begins in a few minutes. Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department have done their best to delay the prosecution of Blagojevich and protect Obama. This should be clear to anyone paying attention, even the House Judiciary Committee. If you watch closely and pay attention, Patrick Fitzgerald let’s the cat out of the bag on several occasions.
From the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum, signed by Patrick Fitzgerald and filed on November 30, 2011.
“Over the course of a relatively brief period of time, during his machinations
surrounding the appointment of a United States Senator, and the shakedowns of
hospital and racetrack executives, the defendant revealed his corrupt, criminal
character. But, as the evidence and Blagojevich’s conduct at his trials established, these were not isolated incidents. They were part and parcel of an approach to public office that defendant adopted from the moment he became governor in 2002. In light of Blagojevich’s extensive corruption of high office, the damage he caused to the integrity of Illinois government, and the need to deter others from similar acts, the government suggests a sentence of 15 to 20 years imprisonment is sufficient but not greater than necessary to comply with § 3553.”
“Blagojevich’s criminal activity was serious, extended, and extremely damaging.
Blagojevich was the sitting governor of Illinois when he committed his crimes. As the chief executive of the state, Blagojevich was in a special position of responsibility to the public. His abuse of office is particularly grave given the faith put in him by the citizens of Illinois.”
“Blagojevich agreed to use his official powers for personal benefit from the very
moment he became governor. On the heels of one corrupt governor and after running on a campaign to end “pay-to-play,” Blagojevich took office and immediately began plotting with others to use the Office of Governor for his personal gain through fraud, bribery, and extortion. Blagojevich and others committed a variety of criminal acts for several years before Blagojevich became aware of the FBI investigation into his actions and the actions of his administration. As the evidence demonstrated, Blagojevich continued his criminal acts through 2008 despite his knowledge of the FBI’s investigation. Indeed, the arrest and conviction of various members of Blagojevich’s
inner circle did nothing to dissuade Blagojevich from continuing his criminal activity until the day of his arrest.3”
“Blagojevich held up funding to every children’s hospital in the State of
“Further deprecating Blagojevich’s appreciation for his criminal conduct is his
request for a probationary sentence. See Statement of Aaron Goldstein on Chicago Tonight, 9/28/11. By way of comparison, Antoin Rezko, who voluntarily surrendered immediately after conviction to start serving what he knew would be a prison sentence, recently received a sentence of 126 months’ imprisonment for corrupt activity that he engaged in directly with Blagojevich or with Blagojevich’s tacit approval. Yet, Rezko:
(a) held no elected office of trust; (b) was not involved in any of Blagojevich’s 2008 criminal activity; (c) provided some cooperation to the government that proved valuable; (d) endured harsh conditions of confinement; and (e) ultimately accepted full responsibility for all of his criminal conduct. Blagojevich engaged in extensive criminal conduct with and without Rezko, provided no cooperation, perjured himself for seven days on the witness stand, and has accepted no responsibility for his criminal conduct. A probationary sentence would be entirely inconsistent with promoting respect for the law, and the request in itself demonstrates Blagojevich’s continuing refusal to recognize the seriousness of his criminal conduct.13”
“Blagojevich repeatedly committed serious criminal acts that have done
enormous damage to public confidence in Illinois government.”
Notice above that Patrick Fitzgerald helps make the case for Blagojevich being prosecuted first.
“By way of comparison, Antoin Rezko,…received a sentence of 126 months imprisonment for corrupt activity that he engaged in directly with Blagojevich or with Blagojevich’s tacit approval. Yet, Rezko:
(a) held no elected office of trust;”
Yes, indeed, Patrick Fitzgerald allowed Blagojevich to remain in office until December 8, 2008 even though they knew as early as late 2003 that the Blagojevich Administration was involved in widespread corruption. If you are still not convinced, here is a Citizen WElls article from November 13, 2011.
Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojevich and other Chicago corruption figures are scheduled for sentencing in a few days. The US Justice Department knew about corruption in the administration of Governor Blagojevich by at least the latter part of 2003. Here is what we know from US Justice Department and court records and media reports.
From the Blagojevich arrest press release.
“The charges include historical allegations that Blagojevich and Harris schemed with others – including previously convicted defendants Antoin Rezko, Stuart Levine, Ali Ata and others – since becoming governor in 2002 to obtain and attempt to obtain financial benefits for himself, his family and third parties, including his campaign committee, Friends of Blagojevich, in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts and access to state funds.”
From the Washington Post December 22, 2008.
The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got its first big break when a grandmother of six walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown artists wearing an FBI wire.
Pamela Meyer Davis had been trying to win approval from a state health planning board for an expansion of Edward Hospital, the facility she runs in a Chicago suburb, but she realized that the only way to prevail was to retain a politically connected construction company and a specific investment house. Instead of succumbing to those demands, she went to the FBI and U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald in late 2003 and agreed to secretly record conversations about the project.
Her tapes led investigators down a twisted path of corruption that over five years has ensnared a collection of behind-the-scenes figures in Illinois government, including Joseph Cari Jr., a former Democratic National Committee member, and disgraced businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko.
- March – May 2004: FBI chart presented to the Rezko Trial jury on April 28, 2008, shows 257 calls from Rezko’s phones to Blagojevich’s chief of staff, Lon Monk, between March 2004 and May 2004
- June 7, 2004: Stuart Levine, a longtime Republican reappointed to the powerful Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, abruptly resigns on the eve of several important hospital expansion votes. The revelation is the first indication that the Blagojevich administration is under federal criminal investigation.
- June 27, 2004: The Chicago Tribune discloses that an official for one hospital seeking permission to expand was wearing a federal bug during meetings in an effort to expose extortion attempts by Levine and others for contributions to Blagojevich.
- July 2, 2004: Levine resigns from his seat on the board of the state Teachers’ Retirement System. It remains undisclosed that federal authorities had secretly taped Levine’s conversations.
Why wasn’t Rod Blagojevich indicted in 2005?
- May 9, 2005: Levine is indicted on corruption charges. Federal subpoenas are issued to numerous administration sources, including top Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko.
- May 20, 2005: The governor’s office acknowledges to the Tribune that Rezko has an ongoing eight-year professional relationship with Patricia Blagojevich’s home-based real estate brokerage, River Realty Inc.
- September 15, 2005: Prominent Democratic fundraiser Joseph Cari and a former lawyer for the state’s teacher’s pension board pleads guilty in an extortion scheme that steered state pension business to favored companies in exchange for campaign contributions to a high-ranking public official described in court documents only as “Public official A.”
- October 25, 2005: The Tribune discloses a federal grand jury investigation into the alleged political hiring practices of the Blagojevich administration, including the governor’s top hiring aide, Joseph Cini.
- August 5, 2006: The Chicago Tribune reports that Stuart Levine is cooperating with the federal investigation of state government.
- October 11, 2006: Stuart Levine pleads guilty. Levine is cooperating with the government. Patrick Fitzgerald: “This indictment describes a frenzy of corrupt scheming, particularly in April and May 2004, in which political insiders sought to manipulate the activities of two state boards to fleece investment firms and individuals. The defendants and their associates put the word out loud and clear: you have to pay to play in Illinois.” http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2006/pr1011_01.pdf
- January 16, 2007:”Judicial Watch filed an open records lawsuit against the office of Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), who is under federal investigation on several fronts, including corrupt hiring practices. Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, filed on January 16, 2007 in the Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court, specifically seeks, among other documents, any and all grand jury subpoenas received by the Governor’s office or any state agencies under the Governor’s control. The subpoenas reportedly were issued by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office.Governor Blagojevich’s office refuses to release the subpoenas, claiming they are exempt from public disclosure. In a letter to Judicial Watch dated December 7, 2006, Allison Benway, Legal Counsel for Governor Blagojevich stated, “This Office cannot confirm or deny the existence of the documents requested, and even if this Office were to have documents responsive to your request, such documents would be exempt from release…”” http://www.judicialwatch.org/blagojevich
- March 9, 2007: Anita Mahajan, with business ties to Patti Blagojevich, received six felony charges.
- December 13, 2007: Blagojevich fundraiser Christopher Kelly is indicted on federal tax evasion charges.
Or prosecuted in spring of 2008 instead of Tony Rezko.
Rod Blagojevich was governor of Illinois and had been monitored since late 2003. Tony Rezko was a businessman and never called as a witness.
Despite the doubletalk coming from Patrick Fitzgerald about protecting the citizens of Illinois, Blagojevich was arrested after the 2008 election in December.
Patrick Fitzgerald’s own words are damning.
“I was not going to wait until March or April or May to get it all nice and tidy” “I think that would be irresponsible.””
“Governor Blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree. We acted to stop that crime spree.”.
“I just think it’s very, very disturbing that we have these pay-to-play allegations going on for years.”
And perhaps one more.
“We make no allegations that Obama was aware of any alleged scheming by Blagojevich.”
Susan Berger, a freelance journalist, will be covering the hearing live and reporting on Twitter. The live reports can be found here: