July 20th, 2010
03:07 PM ET
4 years ago

Former Illinois governor Blagojevich expected to testify

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may finally get to tell his story to a jury Tuesday.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may finally get to tell his story to a jury Tuesday.

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - After months of professing his innocence in impromptu news conferences, on Twitter and even on Donald Trump's show "Celebrity Apprentice," former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may finally get to tell his story to a jury Tuesday.

The two-term Democrat was removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he had attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been occupied by Barack Obama before he became president. The federal trial started in June, and Blagojevich is expected to be one of the defense witnesses called to the stand Tuesday.

The ousted governor is accused of "conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits" in exchange for an appointment to Obama's seat, including a possible job in Washington or with a lucrative private foundation. In one conversation recorded by federal agents, he told an aide, "I've got this thing and it's [expletive] golden. I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing."

His brother, Robert Blagojevich, testified Tuesday that the governor was "trying to politically work something to his benefit" in handling the appointment - but was thinking in terms of political horse-trading, not corruption.

"It didn't seem out of the ordinary because Obama was taking a lot of people from Illinois with him to D.C.," said Robert Blagojevich, who raised money for his brother. He said the governor "was interested in the idea of being the head of Health and Human Services."

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.

The ousted governor has vehemently denied his charges, sometimes in unorthodox ways.

In April, Blagojevich challenged the manhood of the lead prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald during a fiery news conference. Blagojevich railed about the prosecution wanting to withhold what he thought were tapes that would prove his innocence.

"I challenge Mr. Fitzgerald. ... Why don't you show up in court tomorrow and explain to everybody, explain to the whole world why you don't want the tapes that you made played in court?" Blagojevich said to reporters on the eve of a April pretrial hearing. "I'll be in court tomorrow. I hope you're man enough to show up."

Blagojevich has also taken his fight to microblogging site Twitter. "(L)ooking forward to opening statements because that will unlock the truth... stay tuned," Blagojevich tweeted before his trial began.

Blagojevich also was on NBC'S "Celebrity Apprentice" reality television show and was seen in many episodes declaring his innocence.


Filed under: Illinois • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Thanks Hollywood. So when I break the law, can I get a multi-million $ television contract too as an incentive?

    July 20, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. doug

    The people who vote for these Democrats expect them to be morally absent, to be completely sleezy, to lie all the time, to engage inextortion and threaten people.

    had Oblago don't anything close to as bad as our socialist in chief? didn't think so.

    July 20, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. ja

    wow two governors form the same state in jail together

    July 20, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Tall Ed

    Blagojevich curses more then a sailor who is on fire, and just stubbed his toe.

    July 20, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. get real

    When I read the headline, the circus song got stuck in my head. This should be entertaining...

    July 20, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Gary

    Stop wasting tax payer money....we need a plea bargain. Admit wrong, pay a fine and 30 days in jail and lets call it a day.

    July 20, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. Lisa

    I personally can't wait for this nit to get up there and testify. He's sort of like listening to Howard Stern. You really don't want to but you just can't help but wonder what the heck he's gonna say next! This bozo is such an embarrassment.... I feel a little bit sorry for him. Who the heck is ever gonna hire him...for ANYthing after all this (after he gets out of jail that is). What a "doink"

    July 20, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Keith in Austin

    America is looking forward to watching this slimey Chicago crook celebrate his next several birthdays in the Joliet Prison. There, he'll be someone's boytoy and getting what he has been doing to the citizens of Illinois for years! Dirty Chicago politics have spawned the likes of Emanual, Axelrod and Bozo Nobama

    July 20, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "had Oblago don't anything close to as bad as our socialist in chief?"

    Who's the socialist in chief? I hope you don't mean Obama since not a single thing he, his administration or the Dems in Congress have done sinec January 2009 has constituted socialism BY DEFINITION. How exactly does it feel to be an empty vessel parroting talking points you don't even understand?

    July 20, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Hugo

    Jesse Jackson Jr – Guilty
    Barrack Hussein Obama- Guilty
    Rob Blagojevich-Guilty
    Rod Blagojevich-Guilty
    Rahm Emanuel-Guilty

    Sentence:
    Time served, a bonus and a promotion within the Democratic Party!

    July 20, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Hugo

    Just curious Sniffit, what do you call it when the Federal Government takes tax dollars and injects millions into auto industries, banking industries, and insurance industries? The Federal government now is a primary shareholder in GM, AIG, as well as the main player in the failing Mortgage Banking Institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Further, under Obamacare our individual choices of healthcare are now mandated by Government. So Please Sniffit, tell us all what you call it, is it Fascism, Nationalism, Marxism, what do you call it? I know whatever it is, it stinks and is not any part of the America I know and love is about!

    July 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |