Rod “Blago” Blagojevich has become the poster child for the continuing saga of corrupt Illinois politics. Born December 10, 1956, Blagojevich has continuously thumbed his nose at the at the political and legal establishment after his questionable dealings in Illinois politics.
After Barack Obama’s win in the Presidential election of 2008, Blagojevich was said to try to sell political favors, including an appointment to Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich is said to have been recorded saying, “I mean, I’ve got this thing and it’s f****** golden. And I’m not giving it up for f****** nothing.”
Blagojevich was the 40th Illinois governor from 2003-2009. He was arrested for the Federal corruption charge of conspiracy, wire fraud and bribery in December 2008. Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office by the Illinois State Senate in January 2009.
Blagojevich also considered the possibility of wrangling a cabinet seat or an ambassadorship from the newly elected president Barack Obama. The offer was not forthcoming from the new administration.
The FBI case hinged on tape recordings of Blagojevich’s telephone conversations. Blagojevich went as far as to float the possibility of selling the Senate appointment to billionaire talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
“This one, she’s so up there, so high, that nobody can assail this pick. This would be huge.” Blagojevich is said to have said.
In the end, in August 2010, Rod Blagojevich was found guilty of one count of making false statements to the FBI. The jury could not reach a verdict on the remaining 23 counts that included racketeering, bribery and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Prosecutors intend to have a second trial for Blagojevich. Blagojevich has vowed to call top Washington politicians for a second trial. Some of the heavy hitters in Washington Blagojevich plans to call include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel among others.
Blagojevich could be tried again as early as January of 2011 according to U.S. District Judge James Zagel.
Rod Blagojevich lives by the policy of, “The best defense is a good offense.” His defiant and often intransigent attitude has caused many people see him as a modern day Don Quixote. Many of his supporters, however, feel that the government did not and could not prove its case against the former Illinois Governor.