Friday, April 3, 2009

Rod Blagojevich Indicted

Former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, (D-IL), 52, of Chicago, Illinois along with five close associates including his brother, was indicted by a grand jury yesterday in a superseding indictment on 16 felony counts, including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and making false statements to federal agents. The charges arise from allegations Blagojevich used his position as governor to offer for sale the senate seat vacated by President Obama. Associates of Blagojevich also indicted include:
  • John Harris, 47, of Chicago, Illinois. Blagojevich’s former chief of staff was charged with one count of wire fraud;
  • Alonzo Monk, 50, of Park Ridge, Illinois. A Blagojevich consultant, former chief of staff, campaign manager and former general counsel, now a lobbyist doing business as AM3 Consulting, Ltd.
  • Robert Blagojevich, 53, of Nashville, Tennessee. Blagojevich's brother and former chairman of his campaign fund.
  • Christopher Kelly, 50, of Burr Ridge, Illinois. A key Blagojevich fundraiser.
  • William F. Cellini, Sr., 74, of Springfield, Illinois. Another key Blagojevich fundraiser and businessman
New allegations in the indictment include:
  • Beginning in 2002 and continuing after Blagojevich was first elected governor, Blagojevich and Monk, along with Kelly and previously convicted co-schemer Antoin “Tony” Rezko, agreed that they would use the offices of governor and chief of staff for financial gain, which would be divided among them with the understanding that the money would be distributed after Blagojevich left public office;
  • In 2003, Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly, Rezko and other co-schemers implemented this agreement by directing lucrative state business relating to the refinancing of billions of dollars in State of Illinois Pension Obligation Bonds to a company whose lobbyist agreed to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rezko out of the fee the lobbyist would collect, and Rezko in turn agreed to split the money with Blagojevich, Monk and Kelly;
  • After it became public that Kelly and Rezko were under investigation and ceased playing a significant role in raising campaign funds, Blagojevich personally continued to trade his actions as governor for personal benefits, including, for example, delaying a state grant to a publicly-supported school while trying to leverage a U.S. Congressman, who supported the school, or the Congressman’s brother, to hold a campaign fundraiser for Blagojevich; and
  • In an interview on March 16, 2005, Blagojevich lied to FBI agents when he said that he maintains a separation, or firewall, between politics and state business; and he does not track, or want to know, who contributes to him or how much they are contributing to him.
Read FraudTalk's earlier posts on this story here and here.

Read the superseding indictment here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

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