April 21st, 2010
08:05 AM ET
13 years ago

Blagojevich challenges prosecutor to court showdown

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - If former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has his way, Wednesday's court hearing on his racketeering charges will be a showdown between him and the lead prosecutor in the case.

Blagojevich threw down the gauntlet during a defiant news conference Tuesday, in which he called his accusers "liars" and "cowards," and directly challenged U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who is heading the prosecution.

Blagojevich accused federal authorities of trying to keep some of the tapes FBI agents made of his phone conversations from being heard by a jury.

"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. "I'll be in court tomorrow. I hope you're man enough to show up," he added, referring to Fitzgerald.

During his impassioned commentary, the former governor said several times that he was innocent and that the tapes of his conversations would prove it.

"It Is because there is a smoking gun in those tapes. And the smoking gun is that the government is covering up (is) the big lie Mr. Fitzgerald gave to the world when he had me arrested," Blagojevich added.

The case will be discussed at the preliminary hearing in federal court in Chicago Wednesday.

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

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

Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat, resigned in January 2009 amid accusations that he had attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been occupied by newly elected President Barack Obama.

The former governor was arrested the month before his resignation on federal corruption charges that included wire fraud, mail fraud and solicitation of bribery.

Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. John J, IL

    He is the village idiot here in IL. People outside our state – please don't judge us based on this clown.

    April 21, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  2. Tom

    This guy is such an idiot and an embarassment to the people of Illinois. I hope they fit him with a nice cool cell and a roommate that wants to play drop the soap with him.

    April 21, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  3. DB Lovett

    Me thinks he doth protest too much.

    April 21, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  4. Ken in NC

    I hope Blagojevich gets what is coming to him. I hope he finally gets his trap shut for him. I am so sick and tired of hearing him shoot off his trap.

    I know it is said that the government is still investigating others and that's why they are holding off on his trial but I wish they could give this man his trial and if he is found guily put him in an Ice prison in Northern Alaska without a phone, no cable TV and no matches.

    April 21, 2010 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    What else would you expect him to say?

    However, the facts say something quite different, now don't they?

    April 21, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  6. Todd

    blago thinks he is still on the Apprentice. I was wondering why he was on tv and not in prison yet.

    April 21, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  7. Michele

    He's using the Republican playbook....repeat a lie often enough and people will repeat it, and eventually believe it. Blago, you're through.

    April 21, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. Avg Guy in Red State Kansas

    Mr. Blagojevich it appears one thing you're not short of is testosterone. On the other hand, you don't appear to have much intelligence either.

    This ain't the showdown at the OK Corall. Just go away...

    April 21, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. Reynald

    go learn how to use a computer/phone

    April 21, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |