In a major victory for federal prosecutors, a longtime friend and ex-chief of staff to Rod Blagojevich said today he was an eyewitness to a litany of corruption under the former governor in a deal that pledges his cooperation in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Lon Monk, 51, of Decatur, said in his plea agreement that during the ex-governor's first term in office, there was an ongoing agreement among Blagojevich's closest advisers involving making tens of thousands of dollars off of state business.
The money would be split four ways, according to the plea. The alleged recipients: Blagojevich, the now-deceased Christopher Kelly, convicted businessman Tony Rezko and Monk.
Monk admitted to knowing about a variety of alleged schemes, but pleaded guilty to just one charge -- that he schemed with the ex-governor to shake down a racetrack businessman for a $100,000 campaign contribution in exchange for the governor's signature on a pending piece of legislation that would benefit horse racing in Illinois. Some of the conversations related to the scheme were caught on tape, according to the plea.