January 11th, 2010
01:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Blagojevich: 'Stupid' to say I'm blacker than Obama

(CNN) - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is apologizing for telling Esquire Magazine he's "blacker than Barack Obama."

"What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid," he told reporters outside his home Monday.

"I was speaking metaphorically. Obviously I'm not blacker than President Obama," said Blagojevich, who was impeached last year after being accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

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Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Rod Blagojevich
January 11th, 2010
12:10 PM ET
5 years ago

Ex-governor Blagojevich: 'I'm blacker than Barack Obama'

Blagojevich appears on 'Celebrity Apprentice' in March.
Blagojevich appears on 'Celebrity Apprentice' in March.

(CNN) - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he’s “blacker than Barack Obama,” and tells Esquire magazine that the “strength of the truth in America” will one day vindicate him.

The governor, who was impeached after being accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama, says most of the people in politics are “full of s*** and phonies, but I was real.”

Blagojevich tells the magazine that Obama was “catapulted in on hope can change, what we hope the guy is...

“What the f***? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter. I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up," he says.

(Updated after the jump with Blagojevich apology)

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Filed under: Popular Posts • Rod Blagojevich
December 4th, 2009
06:40 PM ET
6 months ago

Laptops stolen from Blagojevich's lawyers

Eight laptop computers were stolen from lawyers representing former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Eight laptop computers were stolen from lawyers representing former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Washington (CNN) - Eight laptop computers were stolen Friday morning from the offices of attorneys representing former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Chicago Police Department confirmed to CNN.

It is unclear if any of the laptops contained information regarding Blagojevich's federal corruption trial.

The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago had no comment on the case. The FBI is not involved in the investigation, according to FBI spokesman Ross Rice.

Chicago Police spokesman Veejay Zala said he was unable to comment in detail about the case, because it is still being investigated.


Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
October 16th, 2009
10:53 AM ET
5 years ago

Blagojevich reportedly lands gig on Celebrity Apprentice

Blagojevich is reportedly going to star in Celebrity Apprentice.
Blagojevich is reportedly going to star in Celebrity Apprentice.

(CNN) – Members of the Blagojevich family are becoming pros at reality television.

First, Patti Blagojevich, wife of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, appeared on NBC's "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" this past summer, lasting 23 days in the Costa Rican jungle before being voted off.

Now the disgraced former governor himself - who had reportedly been the original choice for the Survivor-like show - appears likely to be a cast member of this season's "Celebrity Apprentice."

People Magazine reports Blagojevich has been spotted on the New York City set, along with Sharon Osbourne, ex-baseball star Darryl Straweberry, celebrity chef Curtis Stone, and comedian Sinbad. Singer Cyndi Lauper and Bret Michaels are also rumored to be a part of this year's cast.

NBC is not confirming the official cast list.


Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
September 16th, 2009
03:11 PM ET
5 years ago

House ethics panel investigating Jackson, 2 other lawmakers

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A House ethics panel says it is investigating allegations against three representatives including Jesse Jackson Jr., who allegedly launched a "public campaign" to be appointed to President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

The preliminary investigation into Jackson's activities by the Office of Congressional Ethics became known in April. At the time, Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, issued a statement saying he was cooperating and was "eager to answer any questions and provide any information to the OCE about my actions related to last year's vacant Senate seat."

The House ethics panel, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, said in a statement Tuesday it had received a referral on the matter from the ethics office.

Transcripts of recordings from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich "contain statements that an 'emissary' from Representative Jackson had offered to raise money for Blagojevich and provide 'money up-front' if Blagojevich nominated Representative Jackson to the (U.S.) Senate seat vacated by President Obama," the ethics office report says. "If this 'emissary' acted either at the direction of Representative Jackson or with his knowledge and acquiescence, Representative Jackson may have violated federal law and House rules."

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Filed under: Jesse Jackson Jr. • Rod Blagojevich
September 13th, 2009
05:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Dying Blagojevich fundraiser said he overdosed, mayor says

Christopher Kelly, 51, was former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's chief fundraiser.
Christopher Kelly, 51, was former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's chief fundraiser.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Police are looking into the death of the former chief fundraiser for ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich as a "death-suicide investigation," an Illinois mayor said Sunday.

Financier Christopher Kelly told police shortly before he died Saturday that he took an "overdose of drugs," said Dwight Welch, mayor of Country Club Hills, Illinois.

Country Club Hills police found several drugs in Kelly's black 2007 Cadillac Escalade, but they were not sure yet whether they were prescribed, Welch said. Country Club Hills is about 27 miles south of Chicago.

Kelly had recently undergone surgery and was taking drugs following the operation, Welch said. Welch said he did not know which drugs Kelly was taking.

Kelly, 51, of Burr Ridge, Illinois, was pronounced dead at Stroger hospital in Cook County at 10:46 a.m. Saturday, hospital spokesman Marcel Bright told CNN. Cook County authorities did not release any details about Kelly's death.

Earlier this year, Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office, pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges. A federal grand jury in April indicted him on 16 felony counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to investigators.

The indictment also named some of Blagojevich's closest aides, including Kelly; former chief of staff, John Harris; and Springfield, Illinois, millionaire William Cellini.

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Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
July 8th, 2009
07:25 PM ET
5 years ago

Blagojevich former aide pleads guilty

 A former chief of staff to Rod Blagojevich pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of participating in a scheme to commit wire fraud.
A former chief of staff to Rod Blagojevich pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of participating in a scheme to commit wire fraud.

(CNN) – A former chief of staff to Rod Blagojevich pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of participating in a scheme to commit wire fraud related to the former Illinois governor's alleged efforts to profit off of his appointment of a replacement to fill the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

Under the plea deal, federal prosecutors will ask that the defendant, John Harris, serve no more than 35 months in prison. Harris agreed to testify at Blagojevich's trial, set to begin June 3, 2010, said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney.

"At times defendant assisted Blagojevich's efforts to carry out the scheme by suggesting means by which Blagojevich could secure personal benefits for himself in exchange for appointing a United States senator, conducting factual research relating to the scheme at Blagojevich's direction, and counseling Blagojevich on carrying out the scheme," the 25-page plea said.

"At other times, defendant expressed opposition to Blagojevich's efforts to enrich himself through his appointment of a United States senator, and/or did not follow instructions from Blagojevich to assist in those efforts," it added.

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Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
June 19th, 2009
02:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Burris will not face perjury charges for Blagojevich testimony

(CNN) – Sen. Roland Burris will not face state perjury charges in connection with his sworn testimony about an alleged "pay-for-play" scheme to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama, a state prosecutor said Friday.

Burris, appointed to the Senate seat just days before Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office in January, gave incomplete but truthful answers to questions about his conversations with Blagojevich's representatives, said John Schmidt, the state's attorney in Sangamon County.

Schmidt began looking at perjury charges in February amid disclosures that Burris spoke with Blagojevich's brother about possibly raising money for the governor.

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Filed under: Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
May 27th, 2009
05:28 PM ET
5 years ago

Durbin won't support Burris in 2010

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Wednesday that he will not support fellow Illinois Sen. Roland Burris for re-election in 2010.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Wednesday that he will not support fellow Illinois Sen. Roland Burris for re-election in 2010.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Dick Durbin repeated Wednesday that he would not support his colleague from Illinois, Sen. Roland Burris, for re-election in 2010.

Durbin said he told Burris that he was "disappointed" to read a federal wiretap transcript, released on Tuesday, which showed that the junior senator had offered former Gov. Rod Blagojevich campaign cash while trying to win a Senate appointment.

"We stuck our neck out for him and said if you do this thing, you'll do it in a proper, professional way, then we can stand behind you being sworn into the Senate," Durbin said, according to NBCChicago.com. "And I just don't think his testimony was complete and accurate."

Durbin has in the past called for Burris' resignation.


Filed under: Dick Durbin • Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
April 21st, 2009
02:29 PM ET
5 years ago

Judge vetoes Blagojevich's reality TV plan

A Federal judge has denied ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's request to travel to Central America to take part in a reality TV show.
A Federal judge has denied ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's request to travel to Central America to take part in a reality TV show.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – A Federal judge has denied ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's request to travel to Central America to take part in a reality TV show.

Blagojevich had signed on to "be dropped into the heart of the Costa Rican jungle" in a celebrity competition, according to the NBC television network.

But his participation depended U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel lifting travel restrictions imposed when the former governor was indicted on federal corruption charges, the network said.

Zagel, in a Tuesday morning hearing, called it "a bad idea" and suggested Blagojevich find another way to earn money, according CNN affiliate WLS-TV.

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Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
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