June 3rd, 2010
08:19 AM ET
5 years ago

Source: Administration officials subpoenaed in Blagojevich trial

Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett have been subpoenaed as witnesses in the federal corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett have been subpoenaed as witnesses in the federal corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) – Two senior members of President Barack Obama's administration have been subpoenaed as witnesses in the federal corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which begins Thursday in a federal courtroom in Chicago, Illinois.

Blagojevich is charged with racketeering and fraud, among other charges.

A senior administration official confirmed that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett have been subpoenaed.

Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat, was impeached and removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he had attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been occupied by Obama before he became president.

The ousted governor is accused of telling his former chief of staff, John Harris, that he wanted "a good gig" in exchange for an appointment to Obama's seat, either in Washington or with a lucrative private foundation.

Blagojevich was arrested in December 2008 on federal corruption charges.

Authorities have said that Blagojevich and his inner circle engaged in a near-constant conspiracy of extortion and kickbacks after his 2002 election.

He has denied any suggestion of wrongdoing.

"I will fight, I will fight, and I will fight until I take my last breath," he said after his arrest.

The accusations against Blagojevich include offering to divert state contracts to individuals and firms that made campaign contributions and
appointing contributors or their associates to key state positions.

Fundraisers "understood that Blagojevich viewed those appointments as an opportunity to reward big fundraisers or Blagojevich's supporters," prosecutors wrote. "Blagojevich consistently wanted to know who recommended a particular candidate for a board or commission slot."

The accusations also contend that tens of thousands of dollars in unearned commissions and unnecessary retainer fees were diverted to Blagojevich's wife after he and his co-conspirators learned that they were being investigated.

In April, Blagojevich held a defiant news conference in which he called his accusers "liars" and "cowards" and directly challenged U.S. Attorney
Patrick Fitzgerald, who is heading the prosecution.

He repeated that he was innocent and that tapes that FBI agents made of his phone conversations would prove it.

Also in April, Blagojevich's lawyers filed a motion seeking to subpoena Obama to testify in the case.

According to the 10-page motion, Obama's public assertion that he had no involvement in talks about filling his Senate seat contradicts information from another witness in the case.

"The defense understands that the President of the United States of America is not a routine witness and would not request his appearance if it did not think he was critical to the liberty of Rod Blagojevich," the motion said.

In the year and a half since his arrest, Blagojevich got his own radio talk show, wrote a book, and was a contestant on NBC'S "Celebrity Apprentice."

That stint ended when host Donald Trump told him, "You're fired!"

– CNN's Ted Rowlands contributed to this report.


Filed under: Rahm Emanuel • Rod Blagojevich • Valerie Jarrett
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Angus McDugan

    The sign out front at the White House says "jobs for sale." Ahhh yes, the Chicago way.

    June 3, 2010 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. aneanderthal

    Why bother to subpoena an official in the current inept, slimy, corrupt, SEIU controlled administration? No one in it tells the truth to begin with. Does anyone want me to recount the lies that Obozo and the crooks have told? More corrupt than the Grant administration, more inept than the Harding and Carter administration. It is run like a big union hall, which it in fact is. Slimy deals, a corrupt president sitting at a rock concert where the "guest" of honor takes stupid shots at Bush, while we are facing ecological, financial and security disasters all around. Change, you bet. We had competency before. Impeach Obozo.

    June 3, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  3. Get A Grip

    Sure won't be holding my breath that either Rahm Emanuel or Valerie Jarrett will tell the truth. This Oblamer administration is a bunch of crooks.

    June 3, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  4. GI Joe

    Come on all you fake christians, family values hypocrits– let's hear the hate from you again.

    June 3, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think it was Shakespeare that said, "I believe he doth protest too much." That is likely the case here with Blagojevich. My question is why would his lawyers ask for another delay?

    June 3, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. AFR531

    After the trial he can be a regular on MSNBC Lockup.

    June 3, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  7. phoenix86

    America will now begin to get a glimpse of just how corrupt the Obama administration really is.

    June 3, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  8. Greg Pottstown PA

    This guy is no different than Obama. Obama uses federal grants all the time to pay off his supporters. Look it up.

    Blago Is guilty and the White House knows it. The reason that Blago has been pushing to have all tapes played is because he knows that the Obama admin knew what was going on and some of the tapes will prove that. The prosecution will not present all the tapes And if they did heads would role at the WH.

    This should be no surprise coming out of Chicago, That town is more corrupt than DC.

    June 3, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. Steve in North Carolina

    Donald Trump has it right. We need to send the same message to all of the corrupt career politicians and get some people who will actually represent the people instead of their political party's agenda. Hopefully 2010 is the year when we say "You're Fired!" and start getting America back on track .

    June 3, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. Bubba

    He should go to prison just for his ungodly hair. That thing has to be emboldening America's enemies or committing espionage or something.

    June 3, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. Scottish Mama

    And the beat goes on....and on.....

    June 3, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. inofritzn

    Hope and change = same ol corrupt government

    June 3, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  13. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    The Blago crimes along with the "jobs for candidates" scandal will bring down Obama and Rahm and will be the Watergate of our time.

    Except that in this case Obama, Rahm and Bubba were the prime architects and operatives in these dirty deals, as opposed to Nixon who knew nothing about the bumbling burglary by low levels but tried to cover up the mess after it occured.

    Get ready to wave bye-bye, Barack!

    June 3, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. Lib Hunter

    Most transparent administration in history. BWAHAHAHAHA. Sestak, oh and a new job offer came out today for someone else to drop out of a race. OBAMA, a different kind of politician. BWAHAHAHA, He will most likely be impeached before 2012. Just another criminal liberal, Nothing more. PATHETIC

    June 3, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  15. Paul from Phoenix

    The Obama administration, the administration of kickbacks, is no better then the Bush administration.

    June 3, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. FL

    Jail time? The American people need to stand up and notice this now. This country's constitution is being torn up in our face. The line needs to be drawn now.

    June 3, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. schuylerryan

    Is this like a requirement for Illinois Governors to get a felony sorta like when you become King on a tropical island and they have to feed you to the volcano.

    June 3, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. Peter - NC

    Ahh, the Chicago machine is gonna get nailed. One can only hope.

    June 3, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. one voice

    While were at it lets take into custody Cheney, Rove and other scumbags from the Bush Resime for war crimes and trampling the Constitution.

    June 3, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. Realistic

    And now faux will run with this until Nov Elections and try to use propaganda to give the hard core Republicans the senate and the house. The only problem is, more Americans are scared of these hard core wingnuts and will vote them in.

    June 3, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  21. Moderate

    This guy really knows how to grandstand!

    I guess he thought this was the bush admin., who would have squashed this trial if any of it's aids were supenaed.

    June 3, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. Ron in California

    Blago's accusation sounds like the Sestak issue where Clinton on behalf of the White House offerred him a "good gig" not to run fr Senate in Pa. Dirty is as dirty does...

    June 3, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  23. one voice

    Just plead the 5th like scumbag Cheney did over the outing a C.I.A. Agent. Poor Scooter Libby, taking one for the WORST VP in U.S. history.

    June 3, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. Phil

    What was that Gomer Pyle used to say???

    Surprise, surprise, surprise!

    June 3, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  25. Gale

    Hmmmm, what is that saying "If you lie down with dogs?????"

    June 3, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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