A lawyer for Rod Blagojevich said outside of court today that the recently deceased friend of the former governor will "speak ... from the grave," at Blagojevich's trial next year.
Wasting no time in spinning the death of Christopher Kelly, who died of an apparent suicide last week, Sam Adam Jr. told reporters today that Kelly's refusal to plead guilty in Blagojevich's case serves as proof that the ex-governor did no wrong.
At next June's trial: "Chris Kelly's voice will speak louder from the grave," Adam said. Chris Kelly pleaded guilty to two criminal cases in federal court involving income tax fraud and fraud at O'Hare Airport.
Kelly faced an extraordinary amount of pressure by federal prosecutors to cooperate in federal court. He was indicted three times in two years.
But Kelly's refusal to plead guilty in Blagojevich's case shows Blagojevich was not involved in wrongdoing with Kelly, Adam said.
"He told the truth in the first case. He told the truth in the second case," and he told the truth in Blagojevich's case by not pleading guilty, Adam argued.
Kelly's guilty pleas in two separate fraud cases each came on the eve of trial.
Kelly was to face trial on racketeering and extortion charges with Blagojevich next June.
Asked if the government can be accused of "piling on" charges against Kelly, another lawyer, Sheldon Sorosky said: "It would be inappropriate to do any post-mortem" on who is at fault.
A confidant of Kelly's told the Sun-Times last week that Kelly was prepared to go to trial in the second case he faced involving bid-rigging at O'Hare. But Kelly, 51, of Burr Ridge,
changed his mind at the last-minute when the government moved to revoke his bond, according to the confidant. Kelly came up with a compromise to turn himself into jail a week later. He killed himself in the interim.
Kelly, who was angered with the government for playing hardball with him, was steadfast in his refusal to cooperate against Blagojevich, those close to him have said.
Meanwhile, in court this morning, U.S. District Judge James Zagel formally dismissed charges against Kelly.
There was little formal talk of Kelly in the courtroom except for prosecutors asking to dismiss the counts against Kelly.
"On suggestion of death?" Zagel asked. "Motion granted."
Kelly's lawyer, Michael Monico, was not in court.
Lawyer: Chris Kelly will "speak ... from the grave" at Blago trial
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