WBEZ | Gov. Rod Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/tags/gov-rod-blagojevich Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Blagojevich expected to ask for mercy http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-07/blagojevich-expected-ask-mercy-94670 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-07/APTOPIX_Blagojevich_Sentencing.sff-91a74ce2-0595-4af1-bc4b-465dc6c0ac1d.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to WBEZ’s criminal justice and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer at the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago where the second day of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence hearing was underway. The ex-governor’s legal counsel Tuesday made their arguments for a short sentence. Though they admitted he was guilty of corruption, his attorneys asked for the court’s leniency. Wednesday, Blagojevich himself was expected to make his case. Then prosecutors will ask Judge James Zagel for a sentence that fits his convictions of 18 counts of corruption.</p><p><em>Music Button: Little Barrie, "Dup It Over", from the album Tim Love Lee: Fully Bearded, (Tummy Touch)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 14:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-07/blagojevich-expected-ask-mercy-94670 Ethics Moment: What we've learned about leadership from Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-10-27/ethics-moment-what-weve-learned-about-leadership-blagojevich-93538 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-27/AP110715140676.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This week, the Illinois legislature voted to strip former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his ability to practice law in the state. This, of course, comes as no surprise in the continuing saga of the disgraced politician. Soon, we should know how much time he'll serve in prison.</p><p>Professor Al Gini wonders (aloud) about what Blagojevich's impact is on our collective impression of leadership:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/LjmEcwGLOxQ" width="450"></iframe></p><p>Al Gini is a professor of business ethics and chair of the department of management at Loyola University Chicago. He is also the co-founder and associate editor of Business Ethics Quarterly, and the author of several books, including <em>The Importance of Being Lazy</em> and <em>Seeking the Truth of Things: Confessions of a (catholic) Philosopher</em>.</p></p> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-10-27/ethics-moment-what-weve-learned-about-leadership-blagojevich-93538 Closing arguments to begin in Cellini trial http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/closing-arguments-begin-cellini-trial-93447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-25/William Cellini (AP PhotoM. Spencer Green, File).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Closing arguments in the trial of William Cellini were scheduled to begin Tuesday. In some ways, Cellini’s case represented the end of an era in Illinois: His could very well be the last trial resulting from the federal investigation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/robert-wildeboer" target="_blank">Robert Wildeboer</a> has been covering the Cellini trial and spoke with <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> about the trial and the legal twists and turns of those caught up in the long-running scandal.</p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 14:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/closing-arguments-begin-cellini-trial-93447 State boards boring but lucrative http://www.wbez.org/story/state-boards-boring-lucrative-93141 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-13/William Cellini (AP PhotoM. Spencer Green, File).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Stuart Levine, the star witness in the government's corruption case against William Cellini, is expected back on the stand Monday. He's giving an insider account of how people who pay attention to state boards that deal with the mundane business of government can make a whole lot of money. He provided the same insights into government when he spent three weeks on the stand in the trial of Tony Rezko, who was a top fundraiser for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.<br> <br> Stuart Levine has told jurors how he used his position on obscure state boards to secretly pay himself sham fees. He was on the board of TRS, the Teacher's Retirement System, and he says that at Cellini's urging, he embarrassed and forced the resignation of the agency's director and then pushed to install Cellini's choice for a successor. Levine says the moves gave Cellini considerable power over the agency, which then awarded Cellini a $220 million business contract.<br> <br> Prosecutors say there was nothing illegal about that, but they say, to hold on to their power under Rod Blagojevich, Levine and Cellini tried to extort campaign contributions for the former governor.</p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/state-boards-boring-lucrative-93141 Judge delays Blagojevich sentencing http://www.wbez.org/story/judge-delays-blagojevich-sentencing-92460 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/Blagojevich_AP_file.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A federal judge has delayed the sentencing date for ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>A notice posted electronically Monday at the U.S. District Court in Chicago says simply that Blagojevich's Oct. 6 sentencing date has been "stricken until further order by the court." It doesn't offer a reason for the delay.</p><p>There had been speculation that the impeached governor's sentencing could be pushed back because of a scheduling conflict with another trial.</p><p>The trial of a one-time fundraiser for Blagojevich, William Cellini, is set to start on Oct. 3. U.S. District Judge James Zagel is the judge in both cases.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/judge-delays-blagojevich-sentencing-92460 Prosecutors say Blagojevich not fulfilling bond terms http://www.wbez.org/story/prosecutors-say-blagojevich-not-fulfilling-bond-terms-89157 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-14/RS663_AP090129057205-blago-serious-Nam-Y.-Huh.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>Prosecutors want a judge to order Rod Blagojevich&nbsp;to appear in court to sign what they contend is overdue paperwork&nbsp;allowing the ousted governor to remain free while awaiting&nbsp;sentencing.&nbsp;</div><div><br> In a filing this week, government attorneys say Blagojevich&nbsp;hasn't met bond conditions Judge James Zagel set after jurors&nbsp;convicted him on 17 of 20 corruption counts last month.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Zagel told Blagojevich he must secure the bond that's permitted&nbsp;him to remain free since his 2008 arrest by posting his Chicago&nbsp;home and another property. If he flees, he'd lose them.&nbsp;</div><div><br> The filing says defense attorneys have turned over some but not&nbsp;all necessary documentation.&nbsp;</div><div><br> Prosecutors want Zagel to require Blagojevich to come to court&nbsp;Friday.</div><div><br> A message left for Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky wasn't&nbsp;immediately returned.</div></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 17:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/prosecutors-say-blagojevich-not-fulfilling-bond-terms-89157 Blagojevich appeal complicated by testimony? http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-appeal-complicated-testimony-88650 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-01/Blagojevich Retrial Attorneys_Robert Wildeboer_2011051308.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Within the next few weeks, attorneys for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be asking Judge James Zagel for a mistrial.&nbsp; That's unlikely to succeed, which means they'll move on to a higher court, but Blagojevich's testimony could cause problems for an appeal.</p><p>Attorney Joel Bertocchi has spent much of his career specializing in appeals.&nbsp; He says in order to win, you have to convince the appeals court of two things: that the trial judge made an error; and that the error changed the outcome of the case.</p><p>Bertocchi says, "A lot of judges on appeals courts are trial judges and they know what trial judges and trial lawyers know about criminal cases which is that when a defendant testifies, that's really thought of as being kind of the ballgame."&nbsp;</p><p>So even if the appeals court finds Judge Zagel made an error, they're unlikely to grant an appeal.&nbsp; They'd consider most judicial errors unimportant compared to the role Blagojevich's testimony played in the jury's decision.</p></p> Tue, 05 Jul 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-appeal-complicated-testimony-88650 Blagojevich's $65K state pension now in jeopardy http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevichs-65k-state-pension-now-jeopardy-88454 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-28/96553235.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is likely to lose his $65,000 annual state pension, but he could get $15,000 a year in federal retirement for the years he served in Congress.&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicago Tribune reports Tuesday that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office will be asked to make a recommendation on whether Blagojevich should lose his pension. A spokeswoman for Madigan's office says the former governor must first be sentenced before the pension can be denied. It's uncertain when he'll be sentenced.</p><p>The 54-year-old Democrat could start collecting his state pension on his next birthday Dec. 10. Timothy Blair, executive director of the General Assembly Retirement System, says he hopes the pension board will have a ruling before that.&nbsp;</p><p>Blagojevich could start drawing his federal pension at age 62.</p></p> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 17:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevichs-65k-state-pension-now-jeopardy-88454 No tapes, no Blagojevich conviction? http://www.wbez.org/story/no-tapes-no-blagojevich-conviction-88428 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-28/028- Bill Healy - Blagojevich Verdict - 6-26-11.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Tapes sealed the deal for jurors who convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 17 counts Monday.&nbsp; The investigation into the Blagojevich administration goes back years, but there may not have been a conviction if not for the phone calls he had over a few weeks in the fall of 2008.&nbsp;</p><p>Jurors say those calls were very convincing.&nbsp; "There was just several instances and several calls where he asked for different positions for the Senate seat," said one juror who is still anonymous because the court was not immediately releasing jurors' names.</p><p>Robert Grant, the head of the Chicago office of the FBI, says the tapes were important in this case.&nbsp; "A famous artist once said that Lady Justice is blind but she has very sophisticated listening devices... In all my years of experience there is no better evidence you can present to a jury than a defendant's own words and in their own voice," said Grant.</p><p>U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says Blagojevich got a fair trial.&nbsp; "The government put forth its version, he put forth the defendant's version, in the most direct way possible, he took the stand, and the jury decided," said Fitzgerald.</p><p>Experts estimate Blagojevich is facing around 10 years in prison.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 08:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/no-tapes-no-blagojevich-conviction-88428 Inside Blagojevich jury deliberations http://www.wbez.org/story/inside-blagojevich-jury-deliberations-88427 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-28/Blagojevich Verdict - 6-26-11_Billy Healey.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>After delivering their sweeping conviction of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Monday, jurors took a few minutes to talk to reporters.&nbsp;</p><p>They convicted Blagojevich on 17 of the 20 corruption charges.&nbsp; It's a vastly different outcome than the one reached by the first Blagojevich jury, which convicted on one minor count and was deadlocked on everything else.&nbsp; This second jury hopes their overwhelmingly guilty verdict sends a message to Illinois politicians.</p><p>In high-profile federal cases, court administrators will sometimes make a courtroom available where jurors can talk to reporters if they so choose.&nbsp; There's only one television camera and one microphone for radio stations, an attempt to make the whole experience less intimidating.</p><p>In Blagojevich's first trial, none of the jurors talked at court, and as a result reporters started tracking them down at their homes that evening.&nbsp; In an apparent attempt to avoid a repeat, Judge James Zagel seems to have suggested it might not be a bad idea for jurors to get it over with.&nbsp; All of them made themselves available for a 21 minute Q and A, and the forewoman even started with a prepared statement.&nbsp; "As a jury, we have felt privileged to be part of our federal judicial system," she said.</p><p>The jurors spent nine days deliberating, but the forewoman, a retired church musician and liturgist, says it's not because they were arguing.&nbsp; She says they carefully went through each of the 20 counts.&nbsp; "Throughout the process we were very respectful of each other's views and opinions, and as a result we feel confident we have reached a fair and just verdict."</p><p>They found Blagojevich guilty on 17 counts of trying to use his office to enrich himself, but they still kind of liked him.&nbsp; Juror 103 (the court hasn't released the jurors names yet but they're expected to do so Tuesday morning) spent a week listening to Blagojevich testify.&nbsp; She sat in the jury box in the front row, closest to the witness stand.&nbsp; As Blagojevich walked up to the stand he would often mouth or whisper a hello, or a "how ya doin" to her.&nbsp; He also jokingly rolled his eyes at her when attorneys were taking too long dealing with issues at sidebar.</p><p>Juror 103 said that connection "Made it, I wouldn't say it made it a bit harder but because he was personable it made it hard to separate that from what we actually had to do as jurors, you know, we had to put aside the fact that whether we liked him or didn't like him and just go by the evidence that was presented to us."</p><p>Another juror echoed the sentiment that Blagojevich is more than just a caricature.&nbsp; "We know he's human, he has a family, and it was very difficult and there were many times we would talk and say, or I would say, here's all the evidence, and I'd come in thinking okay, he's not guilty and then all of a sudden, gosh darn you Rod, you did it again, I mean he proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty, so it was very difficult. I mean we, I really tried to just try to find everything I could to make him not guilty but the proof was there."</p><p>But not everyone was smitten by the former governor.&nbsp; One juror said she felt he was manipulative and an alternate juror said she felt Blagojevich could remember everything for his lawyers but then seemed to forget everything when the prosecutors were asking the questions.</p><p>In the end, the jurors agreed that Blagojevich committed crimes and they said that was made clear from the governor's phone calls, which were secretly recorded by the FBI.&nbsp; Jurors said the easiest counts to convict on included the allegations that Blagojevich tried to cash in on the ability to appoint Barack Obama's successor in the U.S. Senate.&nbsp; And they didn't buy the defense claim that Blagojevich was just talking and throwing around ideas.&nbsp; One said, "He was being tried on attempting and not committing the crime and when you say you're going to float an idea as opposed to asking someone to do it, that's where and there was several times where he said you know, do it, push that, get this done, and I think that's where you cross the line of just floating an idea and actually doing it."</p><p>After talking to reporters for 21 minutes, a court employee brought the questioning to an end, and the jurors made their way to the basement of the federal court building and got into a 15-passenger van that took them to various train stations.&nbsp; A half dozen got out near Union Station and they hugged on the sidewalk outside the idling van.&nbsp; Two of the women were actually alternate jurors who came downtown just to hear the verdict.&nbsp; They didn't participate in deliberations, something they're still stewing about.&nbsp; "You know after you've been sitting through that for several weeks, I mean I had four notebooks full of notes, I was ready to deliberate and I knew what I wanted to say in deliberations, so unfortunately we never got that chance. But I will say I don't think I would have done anything differently than what they chose," said juror 190.</p><p>The two part ways outside an entrance to Union Station, giving each other yet another hug.&nbsp; The say they love each other and promise to see each other again, but they are both anxious to catch their trains, and Juror 190 is also anxious to finally talk to her family about the forbidden topic that's consumed her life since she was picked for jury service two months ago.</p></p> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 08:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/inside-blagojevich-jury-deliberations-88427