December 29th, 2008
04:15 PM ET
13 years ago

Prosecutors may release some Blagojevich tapes to IL lawmakers

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Fitzgerald is looking to release some of the Blagojevich tapes to lawmakers."](CNN) - U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is seeking court approval to provide Illinois lawmakers with partial tapes of four of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's wiretapped phone conversations.

Fitzgerald's decision follows a request from the Illinois House of Representatives' Special Investigative Committee, which is considering impeachment charges against the Illinois governor.

In a motion filed Monday, Fitzgerald wrote, "Although many relevant communications were intercepted, the government believes that, on balance, it is appropriate to seek the disclosure of four intercepted calls, in redacted form, to the Committee, and that disclosure of the calls by themselves would not interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation."

The motion emphasizes prosecutors do not take a position on whether Blagojevich should be impeached.

The motion also says that while U.S. law "does not necessarily require the government to obtain judicial authorization before disclosing intercepted communications to other law enforcement or investigative officers, the government does so here out of an abundance of caution and in order to afford
the interceptees in the recorded calls an opportunity to be heard and to object, if they so choose."

Blagojevich's attorney Ed Genson was testifying Monday before the Illinois House panel and could not be reached for comment on Fitzgerald's court motion.

As part of his testimony, Genson made a more general comment about the wiretapped conversations.

"The fact is, nothing happened," he said. "There is nothing in that tape or affidavit saying that anybody was propositioned, acknowledging that they were talked to. There is nothing in that tape that shows that people were asked to give money or campaign contributions or anything. It's just talk. That's what it is, unfortunate talk, talk that shouldn't have been made, perhaps, but not actions."

FBI agents arrested Blagojevich on December 9 after federal prosecutors alleged, among other things, that he had tried to "sell" Obama's former Senate seat. Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing.

Filed under: Illinois • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. ian minneapolis, mn

    Why isn't he being forced to release all tapes?

    December 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. J.P.

    Ah yes, Barack's buddy Blago...

    If Blago was trying to sell the senate seat now, I wonder what the status quo was when a certain president-elect was then seeking a senate seat back in 2004? Did Barry-O have to "pay to play" back then, too, like Blago expected of Barry's successor? Inquiring minds want to know... but not the media! Hey, what's that?! Look! Shiny objects!!

    December 29, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Karen - Missouri

    Blago's lawyer needs to buy an isolated island and he and Blago should go live there...alone where they can't bother anyone. Oh cell phones or computers. Blago and his lawyer are "has beens" who will never get respect from the public again...if it ever was there in the first place

    December 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. ben

    American justice means protect the rich from the poor, protect the rich from the law, protect politicians from every thing,and protect the poor from nothing

    December 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. chuck


    December 29, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Franky

    I still don't think our Gov don't got nothing on Richard Nixon but I wouldn't mind hearing those tapes...

    December 29, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Maryland Democrat

    ian minneapolis, mn December 29th, 2008 4:27 pm ET

    Why isn't he being forced to release all tapes?
    The prosecutor is not allowed to just freely give out evidence to the public, as that could significantly effect the bias of a trial, or the credibility of the information.
    That is why he needs court permission before releasing any evidence to anybody, even legislators.

    December 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. obama08


    December 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. carol

    Let's get this over and done with.....dear God is there nothing of more importance to worry about!!!!

    December 29, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. snki

    All tapes will likely be released, his caution now is only that it not prejudice a potential juror or tip Fitzgerald's cards and give Blago a better chance to defend himself.

    December 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. notsocasualobserver

    For a variety of constitutional and statutory reasons, the State of Illinois is unable to force a federal official in Fitzgerald's position to disclose information obtained in a federal investigation.

    December 29, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Laverne

    Ian: because this is a pending investigation. You don't give the other side all the goods before you make your case. Also, Fitzgerald may have moved a little too fast in the arrest. It is my understaning he wanted to make the arrest before Blagojevich actually appointed someone to the senate seat. I hope he did not jeopardize the case too much by moving too soon.

    December 29, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Bob

    How long does it take this guy to get things accomplished. He dragged his feet on the Valerie Plame thing, all to no avail. Either there is something there or there isn't. Get a Grand Jury and Indict the guy or clear him. If the Justice Department has been watching Sleaseojevich as long as they say, they should certainly have their case laid out by now. Waiting will only let the the mice continue to scurry and things will get lost and the real crooks get away.

    December 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Larry

    Blagojevich --Typical Democrat

    December 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Bill

    As a democrat, he is above the law and he knows it.

    December 29, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. weo

    ian minneapolis.


    Simply put, Fitzgerald has a well deserved reputation for NOT showing his cards until he has to.

    Additionally, if he released all the tapes, that could potentially negate the government from being able to get an impartial jury because they had already heard the evidence and formed an opinion of the tapes.

    If you've ever been on a jury, you're instructed to NOT discuss the case with the other jurors until you get the case.

    December 29, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    Ian in Mpls – duh? Forced to release all tapes? Because it's a federal criminal investigation...geez.

    The defense is becoming clearer, isn't it? He didn't really DO anything – he just "talked' about what he may or may not have wanted to do! You can't convict an elected official for just talking about his intentions – give me a break.

    This is going to be interesting to watch – the state impeachment, the federal criminal case – Blago's protestations and his attorney's lame arguments. Pop your popcorn and settle in – it will either be the best comedy or the saddest tragedy of 2009!

    December 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Rob

    Blago is now the red-headed step-child of Illinois politics. And he further did himself in by blaspheming The Chosen One. You can bet that if he didn't try to rough house Obama nobody would've ever heard about this. Nope, Blago's out, just have to wonder if some type of 'accident' will happen to him (can anyone say Vince Foster?).

    P.S. Nice try Chuck, keep up the kook front that Palin is corrupt. You obviously have issues with REAL, powerful women (unlike the hags who are Clinton and Pelosi).

    December 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Ann

    If this is a criminal investigation why is he releasing anything to anyone?

    December 29, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. roger in ga

    THe tapes do not have to be released before the investigation is completed and they are for the most part considered to be evidence and as such they do not have to be released to the publice before a trial takes place. If they are used as evidence in a trial then they are a part of public record unless and except when they would be considered a breach of National Security in which case they would be herd in court and only there by a select few.

    December 29, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. dmjakers

    Blago seems crazy YET now that we've had a couple weeks to think, we should note that out of over two months of tapes Fitzgerald cherry-picked three sentences to reveal. While I don't think it matters that they weren't put in context, the fact that no action was taken leaves open the possibility that it was just crazy talk from a jerk.
    They even gave OJ a trial - perhaps this nut should be allowed to have one before we take away his job. At this point, there is plenty of reason to think he did something, but none of us would want to be fired without having had an opportunity to prove ourselves "not guilty" at trial.
    He's probably guilty. But let's not jump the gun on the moron.

    December 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. Mari

    WHY is Blagojevich NOT facing impeachment???

    December 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Proud American

    There nothing on the tape. What a bunch of idiots.

    December 29, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. jonathan

    He is a repugnant self-serving scoundrel needing to be dragged from the Governors Mansion by the people of Illinois along with his gold digging wife.

    December 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. t

    hey chuck if your family was being threatened with violence by and x-inlaw and you were the Governor, what the hell would you do?????

    December 29, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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