Blagojevich trial, US Justice Department corruption, Protecting Obama
Blagojevich arrest intentially delayed
“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, December 9, 2008, Blagojevich arrest
Those are interesting statements by Fitzgerald.
The question is, why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?
The prosecution in the Rod Blagojevich trial rested their case Tuesday, July 13, 2010.
Tony Rezko has not been called to the witness stand. Nor has Stuart Levine. Nor have a host of others with corruption ties to Blagojevich and Obama.
The US Justice Department had plenty of evidence indicting Rod Blagojevich by 2006. Why did the US Justice Department wait until December 2008, after the election, to arrest Blagojevich?
Who made the decision to wait to indict Blagojevich?
Was Patrick Fitzgerald involved in this decision?
“I think that would be irresponsible.” Yes, Fitzgerald, I agree.
From the Blagojevich complaint December 7, 2008.
“From in or about 2002 to the present, in Cook County, in the Northern District of Illinois, defendants did, conspire with each other and with others to devise and participate in a scheme to defraud the State of Illinois and the people of the State of Illinois of the honest services of ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, in furtherance of which the mails and interstate wire communications would be used, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341,1343, and 1346; all in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1349.
“Since approximately 2003, the government has been investigating allegations of illegal activity occurring in State of Illinois government as part of the administration of Governor ROD BLAGOJEVICH. As further detailed below, the investigation has developed evidence that: (a) beginning not later than in or about 2002, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has conspired with multiple individuals, including, beginning not later than in or about October 2008, JOHN HARRIS, to devise and participate in a scheme, which used and contemplated the use of the mails and interstate wire communications, to defraud the State of Illinois and its residents of the honest services of ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS by corruptly using the office of Governor of the State of Illinois to obtain and attempt to obtain personal gain, including financial gain, for ROD BLAGOJEVICH and third parties with whom he is associated;”
Blagojevich’s involvement in corruption did not begin in 2008.
“From in or about 2002 to the present, in Cook County”
“Since approximately 2003, the government has been investigating allegations of illegal activity occurring in State of Illinois government as part of the administration of Governor ROD BLAGOJEVICH.”
From the Stuart Levine Indictment, May 9, 2005. (The SPECIAL MARCH 2004 GRAND JURY charges)
“CHICAGO – Three Chicago area executives – one of them a former member of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which controls medical facility construction projects in Illinois, and one a managing director of Bear Stearns & Co., an investment firm that arranges financing for public works projects in Illinois – were indicted on federal charges for allegedly engaging in insider-dealing, influence-peddling, kickbacks and corruption involving their private interests and public duties, federal officials announced today. One defendant, Stuart Levine, a lawyer and businessman, allegedly engaged in a fraud scheme to obtain a total of at least $9.5 million for himself and certain associates,
Stuart Levine – 19 counts of mail fraud, 4 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts of misapplication of funds, 2 counts of money laundering and one count of extortion – a businessman whose interests included S.L. Investment Enterprises, L.P., and a former member of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board (Planning Board), a state commission appointed by the Governor that grants or denies a permit, known as a “Certificate of Need” (CON), to build hospitals, physician offices or other medical facilities statewide. Levine was also a member of the board of trustees of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, formerly known as Finch University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School (Chicago Medical School or CMS) in North Chicago, and he was chairman of its real estate committee. He was also a trustee of the Northshore Supporting Organization (NSO), a charitable trust that supported Chicago Medical School;”
One of many ties to Rod Blagojevich
“a former member of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board (Planning Board), a state commission appointed by the Governor”
Timeline is revealing
Patrick Fitzgerald was aware of Blagojevich’s corruption in 2003
“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.”
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 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.
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.
Sept 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.”
Oct. 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.
Sept. 10, 2006: The Tribune reveals that the FBI is investigating allegations by a one-time Blagojevich family friend that she had concerns her state job may have come in return for a $1,500 personal check her husband wrote to one of Blagojevich’s children.
Sept. 17, 2006: The Tribune reports that the Blagojevich administration skirted state hiring rules to give jobs to at least 360 people whose applications were sent through back channels by the governor’s offices and politically connected officials.
Aug. 5, 2006: The Tribune reports that Levine is cooperating with the federal investigation of state government.
Oct. 11, 2006: Blagojevich confidant and top fundraiser Rezko is indicted on federal charges he sought millions of dollars in kickbacks and campaign donations from firms seeking state business.
Oct. 27, 2006: Political insider Levine pleads guilty in a scheme to squeeze millions of dollars from firms seeking state business. In court papers, federal authorities spell out allegations that Rezko and another schemer, identified by sources as Blagojevich confidant and top fundraiser Christopher Kelly, were using their influence for corrupt purposes.
Before the Tony Rezko trial began in March 2008, the USDOJ and the FBI had more than enough to arrest Blagojevich and plenty on Obama. Stuart Levine had already provided the information revealed in the trial and more.
Patrick Fitzgerald obtains more details of Obama’s ties to Rezko and corruption in 2007.
Kenneth J Conner was a whistleblower in the Rezko Obama lot sale transaction. Conner was interviewed by the FBI in 2007.
From the Washington Times, November 4, 2008.
“A former Illinois real estate specialist says FBI agents have questioned him about a Chicago property that had been bought by convicted felon Tony Rezko’s wife and later sold to the couple’s next-door neighbor, Sen. Barack Obama.
The real estate specialist, Kenneth J. Conner, said bank officials replaced an appraisal review he prepared on the property and FBI agents were investigating in late 2007 whether the Rezko-Obama deal was proper.
“Agents and I talked about payoff, bribe, kickback for a long time, though it took them only a short number of minutes of talking with me while looking at the appraisal to acknowledge what they already seemed to know: The Rezko lot was grossly overvalued,” Mr. Conner told The Washington Times Monday.
“Rezko paid the asking price on the same day Obama paid $300,000 less than the asking price to the same seller for his adjacent mansion,” he said. “This begs the question of payoff, bribe, kickback.””
I have had many conversations with Mr. Conner, on and off the record.
By delaying the arrest of Blagojevich, two important things occurred.
More harm was done to the citizens of Illinois.
Obama was spared prosecution and association with crime figures. This allowed Obama to win the election.
Before the Rezko trial ended, the Illinois senate attempted a recall against Blagojevich.
Why wasn’t Blagojevich arrested by then?
May 2, 2008
“SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Senate on Thursday narrowly defeated a measure aimed at giving voters a chance to recall Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but lawmakers on both sides of the issue blasted the embattled governor during a debate that raised statehouse tensions to a new level.”
Here are just a few bits of testimony from the Rezko trial. The government had this information many months before.
March 21, 2008
“Stuart Levine thought he had hit the jackpot when he teamed up with Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich who seemed to be able to get the administration to do anything he wanted. Levine’s third day on the stand at Rezko’s corruption trial was a sometimes wandering exploration of how Levine and Rezko exploited that immense clout in a variety of schemes to allegedly line their pockets.
“I have never been in a better position than I am right now,” Levine was heard bragging on a government wiretap. “Part of the reason is because there’s never been such tight control of the central apparatus. This guy is making decisions ? and can get anything done that he wants done.””
March 19, 2008
“But Blagojevich’s name has been mentioned often. It was brought up at least 30 times Wednesday morning by Stuart Levine, the government’s star witness against Rezko.
At one point, Levine described a flight from New York that he shared with Blagojevich Oct. 29, 2003. Levine had chartered the plane to ferry Blagojevich and others to a series of fundraisers.
On the return to Chicago, Levine said he took the opportunity to thank Blagojevich for re-appointing him to a seat on a state hospital regulatory board that prosecutors now say he and Rezko had corrupted to extort kickbacks from firms seeking regulatory approval.
Levine said the governor responded, “Never discuss any state board with me, discuss them with either Tony Rezko or Chris Kelly.” Kelly, along with Rezko, was a top fundraiser for Blagojevich as well as a close friend.
Then Levine said Blagojevich added: “But you stick with us and you’ll do very well for yourself.”
Asked by a prosecutor to elaborate, Levine said, “I took that to mean you have an opportunity to make a lot of money.””
This is important!
Even if the USDOJ was waiting for the Rezko trial to end. It ended in June 2008, well before the election.
Obviously they did not need Rezko’s testimony.
It is obvious from the above that the feds had plenty on Blagojevich.
Now read remarks made by Fitzgerald and the USDOJ.
Fitzgerald aggressively prosecuted Republicans
Former Gov. George Ryan December 31, 2003
“Mr. Fitzgerald announced that he was prosecuting former Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, in a scandal that had been swirling around long before Mr. Fitzgerald got here and that many people thought would never touch the most powerful politicians in Illinois. But there Mr. Fitzgerald was, a week before Christmas, ticking off the details of a 91-page indictment against Mr. Ryan, seemingly from memory.”
Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Fitzgerald declined to be interviewed for this article. Instead, the office issued the four-sentence release. ”Mr. Fitzgerald will become engaged on the matter immediately,” the release said. ”Consistent with the usual practice concerning investigations, Mr. Fitzgerald does not intend to comment any further.”
Fitzgerald did not wait years to go after Libby and Rove.
“It was at the insistence of Rove’s lawyer, Donald Luskin, that Rove went back and re-examined his call logs and discovered the call to Cooper. Rove presented that information to the Grand Jury and the astonished Fitzgerald whose team had missed it.
But curiously, Fitzgerald attempted to use this disclosure to accuse Rove of being misleading in earlier testimony where he had failed to recall the phone conversation.
It became clear to Rove that Fitzgerald wasn’t looking for a violation of law in the Plame case but to set a perjury trap and carve another notch on his belt by bagging a top White House honcho.”
MAY 9, 2005
Stuart Levine Indictment
“Individuals who serve on public boards or boards or private institutions and charities must serve the interests of the public or the institution and not steal for themselves,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “Beyond owing basic duties of honesty and integrity, hospital Planning Board members play an important role in providing access to health care while containing costs. The indictment charges that Levine instead sold out his duties and gave out state approvals and hospital contracts on the basis of ‘who you know’ and worse, ‘who you pay,’” he added.
Levine pleads guilty October 11, 2006
“Levine, 60, of Highland Park, a lawyer who also served on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board (Planning Board), was charged in the same counts as Rezko in the superseding indictment. Levine, whose attorney, Jeffrey Steinback, authorized the government to disclose that Levine is cooperating with the government, is scheduled to plead guilty in the TRS case on Oct. 27 before U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve.”
““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,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.”
Blagojevich arrest December 9, 2008
“Fitzgerald said, “We make no allegations” that Obama was aware of any alleged scheming by Blagojevich.”
“Fitzgerald called the corruption charges against Blagojevich “a truly new low.””
“Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago office, characterized Illinois’ place in the pantheon of political corruption.
“If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor,” Grant said. “Even the most cynical agents in our office were shocked.””
“Fitzgerald said the investigation into Blagojevich continues, but authorities acted today to avoid further harm taking place.
“I was not going to wait until March or April or May to get it all nice and tidy” and bring charges, he said. “I think that would be irresponsible.””
It is apparent to me that a deal was struck with the US Justice Department and that Patrick Fitzgerald was involved in the decision or minimally, was aware of it. The Justice Dept. had more than enough evidence to indict Blagojevich at the latest by the time Stuart Levine agreed to cooperate by August 5, 2006. They actually had enough wiretap evidence without Levine cooperating. Once Blagojevich was too tainted by investigation and Obama was being groomed for the presidency, Obama had to be protected.
Let me make this perfectly clear. I am accusing the US Justice Department of corruption, of being complicit in delaying the arrest of Rod Blagojevich until after the 2008 elections. Furthermore, the Justice Department has purposefully reworded the Indictment and refrained from calling witnesses and revealing testimony that would be further damning for Blagojevich and Obama. This is a criminal act which must be prosecuted.
I am calling for a congressional investigation.
I am also calling for more whistleblowers to come forward. Your identity will be protected.
More US Justice Department corruption coverage to come.