Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Blago lawyers want campaign fund money

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Lawyers for former Gov. Blagojevich and his brother are asking a federal judge to lift a restraining order that's been put on a $2.3 million campaign fund to help pay for legal fees.
Attorney for Robert Blagojevich, Michael Ettinger, said of the $2.3 million in the fund now: "not a dollar represents proceeds of any illegal activity as alleged in the indictment," according to a court filing.
Ettinger has asked that a portion of the funds be released to contribute to his client's legal fees. Robert Blagojevich chaired the fund as of August of last year. Blagojevich's lawyers are expected to file something similar before day's end.
Prosecutors indicated in a filing that $100,000 has been released to ex-Gov. Blagojevich's lawyer Sheldon Sorosky, while Ettinger has gotten $50,000 so far.
The government opposes releasing money from the fund, saying in a government filing today they have to protect their rights to seize the money if there's a conviction.
"FOB was established on behalf of Rod Blagojevich to support his campaign efforts so that he could maintain and influence a racketeering enterprise designed to personally
enrich Rod Blagojevich and his family, and, as part of the enterprise, his interest
in the FOB funds," prosecutors argue. The government proposes letting defense lawyers be paid through taxpayer money but then allow the campaign fund to repay the costs. That would force Blagojevich's attorneys to be paid at public defender rates, which is about $115 or so an hour. In the alternative, they proposed that the money be held in a court-supervised escrow fund.
Judge James Zagel, who oversees the case, has indicated that he will likely release the fund to defense lawyers to pay for legal fees. A formal hearing is set for May 1. Prosecutors oppose the move.

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2 Comments

I am confused. Aren't campaign donations supposed to be used on paying for someone's campaign, not any other purpose like hiring lawyers to fight a possible criminal case? As a donor to a campaign I would want my money used for something pertaining to running a campaign trying to get my party elected and if the party decided not to run I would want my money back. I do not think it is appropriate for any person to accept money for a campaign and use it for any other purpose.

The people who "donated" were suppose to get something in return for their money, jobs, contracts etc...they didn't. Anyone in Illinois who didn't know that money given to Blagojevich in the past 18 months would be going towards his defense, didn't read the papers. Maybe they should contact the donors and ask them what they would like done with the money. Do they want it to go towards his defense? Do they want it back? Would they like it re-donated to another political campaign or the democratic party? It's all documented, they know were the money came from, just ask.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on April 27, 2009 3:48 PM.

Stephen Baldwin says: 'Leggo my Blago' was the previous entry in this blog.

Want to represent Blago? You'll have to take a "pay cut" is the next entry in this blog.

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