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Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

A Blago indictment roadmap

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Today could be the day that ex-governor Blagojevich is indicted on corruption charges.
An indictment is necessary for the case to move to trial. Here's a few things to know and expect.

1) Why might it happen today? There is an April 7 deadline on the indictment -- that's Tuesday. But the grand jury considering the matter meets on Thursdays. Today is the last Thursday before the deadline.

2) Others will be charged. But don't expect many new defendants. The 90-day deadline (which, by the way, was self-imposed by the government -- the feds could have asked for another extension) only pertains to the two people charged in a criminal complaint: Rod Blagojevich and his ex-chief of staff, John Harris. So even though there's many others in the government's sights, the clock isn't ticking on an indictment return. Other known targets of the grand jury include the governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich, who was the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund chief, former chief of staff Lon Monk and the governor's wife, Patti Blagojevich. Both the campaign fund and the governor's brother figured prominently in the criminal complaint.

3) Don't expect a news conference. Past practice in the U.S. Attorney's office dictates that a news conference isn't held when a defendant is indicted on already announced charges. Besides, the big presser already happened last December and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald took some heat for his forceful remarks.

4) It will drop like a thud. That is, the actual weight of the document. The criminal complaint was nearly 80 pages, it makes sense that the indictment will be about as long or longer. The indictment is likely to be a commentary on Blagojevich's tenure in office, which stretched over seven years before his forced removal in February. Sources say it is likely to go into schemes involving two of his now convicted advisers -- Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly -- then mirror much of the complaint, touching on allegations of pay to play, selling the Senate seat, and scheming to have members of the Tribune editorial board fired.

5) Tapes will be referenced. The probe into Blagojevich's administration goes back to 2003. But a new phase of the investigation started last October when ex-Blago friend John Wyma gave the feds the probable cause to go up on wires. They initially bugged the campaign offices and tapped Blagojevich's home phone. They were investigating pay to play allegations, then stumbled on talk of allegedly selling the Senate seat. That meant another round of taps were approved, including: Harris' cell phone, Robert Blagojevich's cell phone and Monk's cell phone. A video camera was also put up over the campaign offices to help identify people caught on the bugs.

6) Are any Senate candidates or their emissaries in trouble? Don't expect that question to be answered today. The indictment is expected to focus largely on the ex-governor's own conduct and that of his fund-raising operation.
Expect there to be some detail involving Blagojevich's alleged scheming to appoint Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat and his discussions with her emissary, SEIU official Tom Balanoff (who is cooperating but not a target). There's not likely to be new revelations concerning discussions with representatives of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (Candidate 5 in the complaint).

7) Don't expect to see the ex-governor giving an impromptu availability in front of his house as he did the day he was removed from office. And don't expect him in court.
He's not required to appear in court until an arraignment date is set.
Besides, he and the family are in Disney World.

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Sources confirm that the "significant criminal matter" referred to in the U.S. Attorney's press release this morning is ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's indictment. As predicted, there will be no news conference. Blagojevich faces charges that he tried to sel... Read More

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on April 2, 2009 1:51 AM.

Indictment coming? Blago's gone to Disney World was the previous entry in this blog.

Blago's indictment coming in a matter of hours is the next entry in this blog.

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