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

Recently in Christopher Kelly Category

Reporting with Natasha Korecki

To the prosecution, he's the ultimate insider; to the defense, he's the ultimate backstabber.

Rod Blagojevich's former close friend and chief of staff Lon Monk has stepped up to testify in Blagojevich's retrial, and the prosecution is diving into allegations about fundraising and shakedowns in the then-governor's administration.

Monk walked into the courtroom without looking at Blagojevich. Jurors might recognize Monk from opening statements, when prosecutors flashed a photo of the two friends together on the day of Blagojevich's wedding. Monk was part of the wedding party.

Today the relationship looks a lot different. As Monk talks, Blagojevich fiddles with his ring, stealing glances at Monk before staring right back down at the table. Prosecutors have already dived into allegations involving a shakedown of new Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he was a congressman and is moving onto Monk and Blagojevich's contact with Tony Rezko, a current inmate convicted of corruption, and Christopher Kelly, a one-time fundraiser and insider who killed himself in 2009 after pleading guilty to fraud charges.

Reporting with Lark Turner

As jury questioning continues in Rod Blagojevich's retrial, it's clear that the public carries a cynical view of politicians.

One female juror wrote on her questionnaire: "I don't feel any politician plays directly by the book. Most deals involve personal gain."

U.S. District Judge James Zagel asked about another answer on her form.
"You feel that the former governor wasn't playing fair," he says.
Zagel: "He can be a not nice man and a not fair man and still those two things don't constitute a criminal offense, do you understand that?
"Yes," she said.

The next potential juror was among the most colorful of the bunch. Wearing a purple shirt and suspenders, he talked about his assault and battery conviction, his past DUI and his anger management.

"I notice you're not standing up and throwing the microphone at me," Zagel said, in reference to the anger management.

When asked on the questionnaire about the case, the man, #119, wrote: "History will reveal itself."
At that, Blagojevich smiled and leaned forward.


Reporting with Sarah Ostman

We begin again after the lunch break with a new witness, David Abel, 49, who lives on Chicago's North Side.

Blond, glasses, Abel sits very still on the witness stand. He looks every bit of the part of the number-crunching expert he was employed to be with the state.

He gives such details as "I knocked lightly on the door," when asked what he did first when he joined a ongoing meeting in the governor's office at the Thompson Center, downtown.

Abel talked about the $10 billion pension bond deal the state took part in under Rod Blagojevich.

Former Blagojevich chief of staff Lon Monk, a government witness, testified that Blagojevich, Monk, Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly plotted to split a kickback off that deal.
Monk testified that Kelly pushed Blagojevich to issue all $10 billion in bonds in one day so that the chosen firm Bear Stearns, would get all the business. Monk testified that Rezko struck a deal with Stearns, in which he'd get $500,000 off the deal. Monk testified that money was to be split four ways -- to Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly, and Rezko.

Abel testified that Kelly was in attendance in the meeting.

"Clearly it's the largest that the state has ever done. At that time it was the largest ... done by any municipality in the United States," Abel said.

"I think we have order support for the $10 billion, we have other alternatives if we're not comfortable with the full $10 billion and we could go either way," he said he advised Blagojevich and others in the meeting.

That's different than what we heard from Monk, who said he believed people in the budget office were pushing to sell all $10 billion. That gives the prosecution room to later argue that it was Kelly's alleged corrupt role that made the sale go forward, rather than professionals advocating the move.

John Filan, who headed the office of budget management, later told Abel they'd be issuing all $10 billion in bonds.

Blagojevich Trial: "1, 2, 3, 4"

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Rod Blagojevich, Tony Rezko, Chris Kelly and Lon Monk used code names for themselves "when talking about the four of us making money," Monk said -- "1, 2, 3, 4."

Monk said in 2007 or 2008, when he and Blagojevich were alone in Blago's office, they discussed an FBI investigation.

Blagojevich told Monk not to ever talk about the "1, 2, 3, 4" reference.

Monk on the stand silently mimicked Blagojevich's actions, putting up his fingers one at a time, then running a single finger across his throat.

Blagojevich is clearly upset, unsettled in his chair. He leaned forward and stared right at Monk. But at Monk's gesture, Blagojevich sat back hard in his chair and appeared to mutter something.

He's now trying to be contained, hands folded before him.

Prosecutor Chris Niewoehner is questioning Lon Monk about appointments that Blagojevich made to a list of unpaid positions on state boards and commissions in 2003 and 2004.

Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly brought forward a list of recommendations for these at positions -- mostly people who had made sizable contributions or could be counted on to make sizable contributions, Monk testified.

They were "people who would support the governor's agenda, potentially donate money," Monk said. The appointments were a fund-raising tool, he said.

Rezko said that "some of these board spots were high-profile enough and prestigious enough ... that at a minimum some of these people ought to be donating $25,000," Monk said.

These were positions like trusteeships at the University of Illinois, the State Board of Investment, and the like, Monk said.

Blagojevich called these positions his "ambassadorships," Monk said -- referring to the notion that ambassadorships are appointed by presidents as a thank-you for big campaign contributions.

One of those most publicized appointments was that of Ali Ata, former director of the Illinois Finance Authority. Niewoehner is questioning Monk on that appointment.

Blagojevich Trial Today: Day 6 and overview

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich trial day 6 will feature expanded testimony from Lon Monk, who started dishing considerably against his old friend and boss during his first day on the stand Wednesday.

EXPECTED TODAY: The government could begin playing the first, much-anticipated secret FBI recordings today. Since Monk's cell phone was tapped, he'll have a bunch of calls to discuss.

MONK'S KEY POINTS FROM WEDNESDAY:

Good for prosecutors: OK, Lon Monk went on family vacations with Rod and Patti Blagojevich, he even lived with the couple when he returned to Chicago to take a job in the governor's administration back in 2002. So prosecutors made it crystal clear that Monk is close to the former governor and maybe that makes him more believable to jurors.
•Monk said he witnessed Blagojevich in meetings where the former governor agreed
he'd use his influence to help his friends -- and himself -- make money off of state deals.
•Monk says $500,000 was funneled into a secret bank account and it was to be split in four, with a share going to Rod Blagojevich after he left office.

Good for Blagojevich: Monk said he never saw a dime from the $500,000 that Tony Rezko took as a kickback payment for steering a state deal to a firm he and Kelly hand-picked. That means he didn't see Blagojevich ever dip into that money either.
"Do you know what happened to it?" Prosecutor Chris Niewoehner asked. Monk: "No."

Rod Blagojevich was worried about money in the year after he won the governor's seat in 2002. Patti's real estate firm had taken a hit since she'd become first lady, and the family was forced to live on Rod's $160,000-or-so governor's salary, Monk testified.

It didn't help that Rod liked to buy expensive suits, he said.

But Rod's money worries were bad news for Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly, Monk said.

"They didn't want Rod and Patti to really be worried about finances, because they didn't want finances to be the reason why he may not run for re-election or run for higher office," Monk said.

The higher office Rezko and Kelly had in mind?

"At one point, president of the United States," Monk said.

They were eying the 2008 election, Monk said, because "2004 would have been premature for someone who had just become governor."


Rod Blagojevich is livid and cannot contain the anger he's reflecting as Lon Monk finally gets to the meat of his remarks: he puts Rod Blagojevich in the room when there was a discussion to divvy up hundreds of thousands of dollars made through state action.

Monk described a 2003 meeting in which Blagojevich, Monk, Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly are all in the room talking about how to make money off of state deals. He said one of Rezko's ideas involved creating an insurance agency that would make money by getting business from the state. Blagojevich presumably would be sure he directed the control appropriately.

Monk says that Rezko led the discussion and on a blackboard puts up nine different ideas that would make each of them money. Each idea was worth about $100,000 he said.

What was the thrust of the meeting: "How the four of us could make money different ways."

Who was going to make money off the deals?

"The four of us," Monk said.

How was that money going to be divided? "Equally," Monk said. "All told, hundreds of thousands of dollars ... in total."

In court, Blagojevich appears angry and is almost smiling at times, shakes his head and shoots glances at the prosecutor and Monk.

Monk said Blagojevich agreed not to take the money until after he was out of office.
"Because we didn't want anyone to know what was going on," Monk said. "There wouldn't be as much scrutiny. ... "In all liklihood (it was) wrong and we would be breaking the law."

The exchange wasn't lost on jurors; several of them were furiously taking notes during the questioning.

Lon Monk: Chris Kelly behind pay-to-play

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Chris Kelly was the first person to suggest to Lon Monk that he could benefit personally from Rod Blagojevich's position as governor, Monk has testified.

The conversation occurred just before the 2002 election in the garage of the Blagojevich campaign office on Lincoln Avenue.

The polls were leaning in their favor, and Kelly and Monk were pretty sure Blagojevich was going to win over competitor Jim Ryan.

Kelly told Monk "in essence, that the Republicans had been in power for so long and they have been benefiting from the state," Monk said. "And that was something we were going to be able to do now that we were close to Rod and he was going to become governor."

How did Monk feel about this?

"I was intrigued by the topic and I wanted to make money," Monk said.

In the courtroom, Rod is shaking his head and almost smiling. Several jurors are taking notes.

The Lon Monk low-down

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Lon Monk's guilty plea Tuesday ramps up the pressure on Rod Blagojevich.
From the Sun-Times today: Blagojevich has repeatedly sought to distance himself from Tony Rezko, essentially claiming that Rezko duped him. Monk's plea not only puts the two in the same room, but it also alleges that Blagojevich gave both Rezko and Kelly free rein over his administration. Monk "understood that Blagojevich and [Monk] would use their power and authority in state government as needed to assist whatever plans Rezko and Kelly put in place to make money," the plea states.

From the Chicago Tribune: Pulling back the curtain on how Blagojevich and his cohorts allegedly went about their plan, Monk's plea suggests a possible pattern of political crimes that took place well before Blagojevich allegedly offered the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama to the highest bidder. As part of his deal, Monk told prosecutors that he, Blagojevich and key fundraisers Antoin "Tony" Rezko and Christopher Kelly repeatedly met about how the four of them could secretly make money through state deals, offering the most specific account yet of how the alleged conspiracy in the case formed.

From AP: The plea is guaranteed to be a blow to Blagojevich, who is scheduled to stand trial starting June 3 on corruption charges that included allegedly trying to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat President Barack Obama held.


A lawyer for ex-governor Rod Blagojevich deemed a slew of allegations leveled by onetime top aide Lon Monk: "one-thousand percent false."
In a plea deal made public today, Monk, 51, said there was an ongoing agreement among Blagojevich and his closest advisers that involved making hundreds of thousands of dollars off state business deals.
The money would be split four ways, according to Monk. The alleged recipients: Blagojevich, the now-deceased fund-raiser Christopher Kelly, convicted businessman Tony Rezko and Monk.
"That is completely false. One-thousand percent false," Sheldon Sorosky told the Sun-Times. "Blagojevich never participated in any deal or conference where he'd receive a kickback from any investments or any money that Rezko and Kelly made -- from the state or otherwise."

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The Chicago Sun-Times reports today that the president of a topless bar was among those on a clout list who appeared to get people hired during Rod Blagojevich's administration.
Perry Mandera, of Glenview, was listed among clout-heavy political sponsors in a secret hiring database obtained by the Sun-Times.
Mandera's name was linked to 10 job candidates.
Four of the people on Mandera's list wound up getting state jobs, the records show.
Mandera, the president of a company that owns VIP's A Gentlemen's Club, a topless bar on the Near North Side, said he knew of no such list.
"I have no knowledge of what you're talking about," Mandera told a Sun-Times reporter. "This is the first time I'm hearing about this."

The Mandera report was the third report in a series about patronage under Blagojevich.
The first report indicated that Blagojevich ordered a hiring freeze while in state office, but, behind the scenes, "flouted the supposed freeze, forging a patronage machine that -- despite their boss' public promises -- eventually would provide state jobs or promotions to nearly 2,500 people with enough clout to have political sponsors."
On Sunday, the Sun-Times reported that the same lawmakers who forced the ex-governor's ouster, once begged him for jobs.

Case of Rod Blagojevich fund-raiser Chris Kelly dismissed

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At the request of prosecutors, a federal judge this morning dismissed the case pending against Christopher Kelly, a onetime fund-raiser and adviser to Rod Blagojevich, who died earlier this month.
U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle agreed to dismiss the case against Kelly as well as Kelly's BCI Commercial Roofing.
Kelly, 51, of Burr Ridge, died after an apparent suicide. He had been indicted three times since 2007, including in the case involving BCI.
That case was set to go to trial in early September before Kelly pleaded guilty to charges of bid-rigging at O'Hare.
In court on Sept. 8, Kelly told the judge he felt pressures "in my life." He later died of an apparent overdose.
Earlier this week, Kelly's case before U.S. District Judge James Zagel was dismissed. In that case, he faced racketeering and extortion charges with Blagojevich. Kelly had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The dismissal of the O'Hare charges means that Kelly's agreement to turn over $450,000 in cash and home equity to the government is now voided out.
Kelly's guilty plea is wiped clean because he wasn't sentenced before his death.
But the prosecution could have pursued a case against BCI because it still exists as an entity, defense lawyer Tom Leinenweber said. The government chose to drop the case, he said.
"I think the government really did the right thing," said Leinenweber, who represents BCI Commercial. "The assets of the company will be used for his wife and children."


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.

'Christopher Kelly is at peace.'

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Photo by Jean Lachat Grace Kelly (center, with hand on her stomach) is consoled by family at her father's funeral.

In his final hours, Christopher Kelly called his brother, Charlie, with a request: keep his funeral service short, keep his eulogy brief.
Above all, he wanted his family and friends to know one thing, his brother said this morning:
"Christopher Kelly is at peace," Charles Kelly said. "Nothing more. Nothing less."
At a funeral service this morning at St. John of the Cross Church in Western Springs, there was no talk of Rod Blagojevich, of federal prosecutors or of a suicide investigation of the onetime political insider that has dominated the news in recent days.

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Photo by Jean Lachat Pallbearers, led by one of Chris Kelly's brothers (right) and nephew (left) carry Kelly's casket from the church Wednesday.

Charles Kelly said his brother in no uncertain terms told him he was at peace and that he wanted that communicated to his family.
Charles Kelly said his brother was blessed with a loving and devoted wife, Carmen and that the entire Kelly family was proud of his brother.
Charles spoke of his brother's intense love for his three daughters: his first-born, Grace, his middle daughter Jacqueline, who is named after the Kelly patriarch, John "Jack" Kelly and the youngest, Claire, whom Chris Kelly liked to call "Claire Bear."
Rod Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, as well as their two daughters attended the funeral. They did not speak publicly afterward. Also in attendance was Kelly's lawyers and Chicago Ald. Ed Burke.

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Photo by Rich Hein Chris Kelly's girlfriend, Clarissa Flores, leaves Kelly's funeral Wednesday.

Kelly died Saturday morning after overdosing on a bottle of aspirin, according to police. In recent years, Kelly was under the weight of three federal indictments.
Authorities said Tuesday that Kelly made a first attempt at suicide just hours after he pleaded guilty in federal court last week. That day in federal court, Kelly told reporters: "My life is over."
In court, Kelly told the judge he faced pressures "in my life."

Chris Kelly -- in his own words

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The Chicago Sun-Times has obtained a transcript of Christopher Kelly's court hearing the day he pleaded guilty last week. Country Club Hills Police say that hours after entering his guilty plea, he attempted suicide.
Friends rushed to his aid and Kelly vowed he'd get help.
But three days later, Kelly once again walked down that dark path, downing a bottle of aspirin. He was dead the next day. Kelly had been indicted three times since 2007. The day he pleaded guilty he spoke of pressures "in my life."

Here are excerpts:
U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle: Are you being threatened in any way?
Kelly: No, sir.
Norgle: Are you being pressured or forced or shoved into pleading guilty?
Kelly: "I would be remiss if I didn't say that there was a great deal of
pressure in my life right now. But I'm doing it freely, and willingly,
understandingly, knowingly, conscious of the ramifications of my actions,
and I'm accepting responsibility here in front of you today, Judge Norgle."
Norgle: Is it fair to say you have had enough time to think about all of
this?
Kelly: Yes, your Honor, I have.
Norgle: All right. This is an important question: Then what is it that
you have decided to do?
Kelly: To plead guilty to the charges as outlined by the
prosecutor.

Click here for the full transcript: Kellyplea.pdf

Kelly attempted suicide hours after guilty plea: police

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Country Club Hills Police today said former gubernatorial fund-raiser and adviser Christopher Kelly killed himself, ruling out suicide.
They also revealed that Kelly had attempted suicide days earlier -- on the same day that he had pleaded guilty in federal court.

The Sun-Times reported today that Kelly pleaded guilty after the feds moved to have a judge revoke his bond.

Kelly: "Some day, the whole truth will come out."

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Just four days before his death, Christopher Kelly spoke those words while at the federal courthouse downtown.

Today, investigators continued to try unraveling details of what happened during the final hours of Kelly's life. Country Club Hills investigators interviewed Kelly's girlfriend, Clarissa Flores.

They reported Flores was cooperative with their probe and her lawyer, Terry Gillespie, said there wasn't a question she didn't answer.
Investigators say they found prescription medication and over-the-counter pills in Kelly's SUV. They want Kelly and Flores' cell phones to review the texts they exchanged before his apparent overdose death.

Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch is expected to hold a news conference tomorrow and lay out a timeline of events surrounding Kelly's final hours.

Kelly dead of apparent overdose. Probe underway.

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Country Club Hills police are investigating the death of Chris Kelly, the longtime loyal friend, adviser and fund-raiser of Rod Blagojevich.
Hours before Kelly was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital, he called a friend to tell her he was going to kill himself, the Sun-Times is reporting.
A source familiar with the investigation said that Kelly, who is married, called a friend and told her he took some pills and was going to kill himself.
She found Kelly and drove him to Oak Forest Hospital, dropped him off and called police to report she did so, the source said.
Oak Forest Hospital does not have a trauma unit and was unable to treat Kelly, who then was rushed to Stroger Hospital in an ambulance.
Kelly, 51, had been indicted three times but refused to cooperate against the ex-governor. He pleaded guilty last Tuesday was set to turn himself in to prison on Friday.

CHRIS KELLY -- KEY BLAGO FRIEND -- FOUND DEAD

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Sources say that a key figure in the case of Rod Blagojevich -- Christopher Kelly -- was found dead this morning.
The news comes just days after Kelly pleaded guilty to a scheme involving $8.5 million in fraud at O'Hare airport.
He was to report to jail by Friday and was on a curfew, which he agreed to, until he turned himself into court.
On the day he pleaded guilty, Kelly, 51, told a judge he'd be remiss if he didn't say he felt pressures in his life. The onetime adviser to Blagojevich had been hit with three federal indictments and refused to flip on his friend.
He faced nearly eight years in prison from two guilty pleas.

Update: A law enforcement source is saying Kelly died of an aspirin overdose.

KELLY PLEADS GUILTY. OFF TO JAIL NEXT WEEK

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One of the biggest players in Rod Blagojevich's criminal saga pleaded guilty in federal court today and agreed to turn himself in to jail by next week.
Christopher Kelly, a longtime friend, adviser and fund-raiser to the ex-governor, pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme involving contracts at O'Hare Airport and his roofing company, BCI Commercial Roofing, Inc.
By doing so, he evades a trial that was scheduled to begin tomorrow.
Kelly told the judge he pleaded guilty after enduring "a great deal of pressure."
"I'm doing it knowing the ramifications of my actions," said Kelly, whose plea deal calls for a 57-month sentence, almost five years, to run after he serves three years in a separate tax fraud case.
Kelly will voluntarily surrender to the federal lock-up on Sept. 18. He will also pay a $450,000 in forfeiture.
There was no talk of Kelly cooperating against Blagojevich, despite the government taking the rare move and charging Kelly three times in two years.
Kelly still faces trial on racketeering and extortion charges with the former governor next June.
Wearing a blue dress shirt in court, Kelly stood with his hands folded before him and, as Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar read the charges aloud in court, Kelly looked up at the ceiling or down at the floor.
Upon swearing in Kelly, U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle asked the Burr Ridge man to speak up.
"Is there a reason why you're whispering?" Norgle asked.
Schar said as part of the kickback scheme, Kelly used criminally-derived profits to pay off personal debts, including to convicted businessman Tony Rezko, as well as gambling debts.
"Is that what happened and is that what you did?" Norgle asked.
"Yes," Kelly replied.
Kelly still faces trial on charges with the ex-governor -- his third indictment. Kelly pleaded guilty in a separate tax scheme earlier this year.
The plea deal was finalized at the last minute, with Kelly initialing portions of it outside the courtroom minutes before court. At one point, Norgle recessed because Kelly said he hadn't read the whole document.
Kelly and his lawyer, Michael Monico, left the courthouse without comment.

Kelly in courthouse. Closed hearing.

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Chris Kelly and his lawyers, as well as federal prosecutors, were just up inside a federal courtroom in a closed session.

U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle told the parties to return at 2:15 p.m.
Neither side would discuss what was going on. Are they discussing a plea?
No one would say.

Jury selection in Kelly's case is supposed to begin tomorrow. But Kelly's lawyer, Michael Monico, filed a motion to move the trial to October.
But that's not a matter that would be closed.
Earlier today, Monico wouldn't answer when asked if he was absolutely sure his client would go to trial tomorrow.
"We're going to trial," Monico said initially. But when pressed, Monico abruptly ended the conversation.
Kelly is a longtime, loyal friend to Rod Blagojevich, and was also of his top advisers and fund-raisers. His trial tomorrow is about contract fraud at O'Hare. He pleaded guilty to tax charges earlier this year and as of now faces trial along with the ex-governor next June.

Will Chris Kelly's trial happen tomorrow?

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*** Update: Chris Kelly and his lawyers, as well as federal prosecutors, were just up inside a federal courtroom in a closed session. Are they discussing a plea?
No one would say. U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle told the parties to return at 2:15 p.m. ***

Christopher Kelly is supposed to go to trial tomorrow.
Will he? His lawyer wouldn't exactly give a straight answer.
Kelly, one of Rod Blagojevich's closest friends, his ex-adviser and fund-raiser, is accused in an alleged contract corruption scheme at O'Hare Airport.
He's just filed a motion asking that his trial be moved because of publicity surrounding the release of the ex-governor's book.
"We've filed a motion for a continuance because of pre-trial publicity because of Blagojevich's book," Kelly's lawyer, Michael Monico said.
Is this just a delay for Kelly to weigh whether he should flip on his old friend or will he plead guilty in the case?
Monico wouldn't give a definitive answer.
"We're going to trial," Monico said initially. But when pressed, Monico abruptly ended the conversation with this Chicago Sun-Times reporter.
In a filing today, Monico asks for an October court date, arguing it would distance Kelly from media attention surrounding Blagojevich. The former governor appeared on the "Today Show" this morning and has other New York talk show appearances planned this week.
"This barrage of media attention has the significant potential to poison the jury pool against Mr. Kelly, who was Mr. Blagojevich's campaign finance chair and close
associate for many years," a filing in federal court today states. "Due to this overwhelming media attention we do not believe that Mr. Kelly can receive a fair trial at this time."
Monico is asking that additional questions be asked of jurors to uncover any Blago taint.
Kelly pleaded guilty earlier this year in a tax case. Then he was hit with two more indictments, including having been charged along with the governor.
Kelly has repeatedly said he would not cooperate against Rod Blagojevich. But, over the summer, he had some preliminary talks with the government, sources said.
Those talks broke down at some point.
It's no secret that the government would see a Kelly deal as a coup. They've wanted him badly enough that they've charged him three times.



Blago pal Kelly faces foreclosure -- open to guilty plea

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Longtime Blago adviser, fund-raiser and friend Christopher Kelly, who has been in the government's sights for years, may roll.
On Tuesday, Kelly lawyer Michael Monico left open the door to his client pleading guilty in the final two cases he faces in federal court.
Kelly was sentenced last week to 37 months in a third case.
"That remains to be seen," Monico said when asked if trial were a certainty. "We're reviewing the evidence, we intend to pursue the results that are in the best interests of Mr. Kelly."
Though Kelly has flirted with flipping on his longtime pal, he's so far made no deal with prosecutors. But Monico has previously hinted that the two sides have had discussions.
Having picked up a felony conviction after pleading guilty in a tax fraud case, Kelly faces stiffer sentencing possibilities in the remaining two cases.
The plea in the tax case was not accompanied by a cooperation agreement.
Monico's comments came the same day a bank moved to foreclose on Kelly's home.
Old Second National Bank filed a $2.1 million foreclosure notice Tuesday on Kelly's Burr Ridge home.
In addition to the tax case, Kelly was indicted in an O'Hare Airport contract fraud scheme and is a Blagojevich codefendant, accused of corruption during the ex-governor's reign.
Kelly's cooperation would be a coup for prosecutors. Kelly, a longtime confidant to Blagojevich, was active in Blagojevich's first run for governor and his first-term administration.

Judge denies new sentencing date for Blago pal

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A longtime friend of ex-governor Rod Blagojevich will be sentenced by month's end as planned. Christopher Kelly lost a bid to push the sentencing to October. He asked for the extension because since pleading guilty to the tax fraud charges he was hit with two more indictments -- including one in which he was charged along with Blagojevich.
Sources told the Sun-Times Kelly had some discussions with the government -- the first sign he's flirted with the idea of flipping. But sources also said Wednesday Kelly believes he could wage a fight against the charges in the Blagojevich indictment.
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Kelly's lawyer, Michael Monico, told the Sun-Times Tuesday that he's reached no agreement with prosecutors.
"We are facing two upcoming trials and nothing has been decided. The government and Mr. Kelly have not reached any agreements. Mr. Kelly at this point is proceeding to review the evidence in the two pending (cases)."
In denying his motion, Judge Elaine Bucklo wrote: "Defendant's motion states that his request for a lengthy extension on his sentencing date is to give him "sufficient time to reasonably assess the propriety of a global resolution" of two other cases in which he has been indicted. That does not actually impact any potential sentence in this case, however."

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