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December 9th, 2008
11:49 AM ET

Illinois governor taken into custody

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/09/illinois.govenor/art.gov.gi.jpg caption="Rod Blagojevich is currently serving his second term as governor of Illinois."]
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is in federal custody on corruption charges, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Both men are expected in U.S. District Court in Chicago later Tuesday.

A news conference is expected at noon ET.

Federal prosecutors say Blagojevich, Harris and others conspired to gain financial benefits in appointing President-elect Barack Obama's Senate replacement, according to the statement.

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. "They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States Senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."

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Filed under: Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Jo Ann

    This isn’t really news; Chicago has had a long tradition of political corruption. Although Obama has recently been trying to distance himself from Blagojevich, they came up through the same Chicago political ranks rubbing elbows with the same corrupt individuals, like Tony Rezko. Obama campaigned for Blagojevich and endorsed him for re-election even while the governor was under federal investigation.

    Although Obama claims to have had no contact with the governor regarding his vacated senate seat, David Axelrod told Fox News Chicago on Nov. 23 that Obama discussed a number of candidates with Governor Blagojevich. I guess we can add Blagojevich to the list of bad judgment calls made by Obama.

    It will be interesting to see if Obama keeps his promise to reappoint US Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    December 9, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  2. Danochicago

    As a 30 year Deomocratic veteran of Chicago/Illinois politics who makes every effort to participate in every election...I couldn't (so didn't) vote for him. He gave me the creeps. Thank you Stranger Danger for teaching me that "Uh oh" feeling. Let's remedy this cancer in politics with as little as damage as possible.

    December 9, 2008 at 7:06 pm |
  3. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    I'm glad that Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris have been charged. This will be an interesting case to follow especially since Blagojevich is denying the charges.

    With all of the politicians of late involved in corruption, it does make you wonder what having a "powerful" position does to your mental psyche and what the political culture is in Illinois since there has been such a history of crime there. Unbelievable!

    December 9, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  4. jim

    It is a well known fact that Illinois always had corrupt government officials. This includes president elect Barack Hussein Obama.. Just think what he can do as president. Since Governor Blagojevich is a Democrat, they probably won't do anything to him. They might even let him stay in office. If he was a Republican, that would be a different story

    December 9, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  5. Darci - Bradford, Illinois

    I find it amusing that government agents and the news media are saying that the things that Blogo's been charged with are "staggering..." & "unbelievable...". They are just a mere fraction of the truly unbelievable & disturbing decisions this man has made as Governor. Did you think that Obama distancing himself from our Governor, during his run for President, was just a coincidence? For Illinoisans and those who have followed Rod's trainwreck "politics", this is way past due. He's cost Illinois residents millions in lost taxes & jobs. Good riddance to Rod!

    December 9, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  6. Heather,ca

    Wow! What a piece of work. I dont even know where start. I dont care if he is a Democrat. He is not worthy of being a politician period! He is scum, he is a criminal and he will be going to prison hopefully for a very very long time. Of course you know SNL and the rest have much to work with to make us laugh.

    December 9, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  7. KIm

    It's an on going investigation and who knows but this is sad. If it's proved ,makes ya wonder and question delusional disorder and effects of perception and what will the psychologist say about all this ? The investigation of corruption has been going on for years and Obama didn't know about it as the Senator of the state ? The news mentioned Rezco is associated in this as well and how ? Concerns citizens and creates more question about the corruption in politics .

    December 9, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  8. Travis

    Don't forget CNN....he is a Democrat!! I notice that whenever a Republican does something shameful their party affliation is stated within the first couple of sentences. However, when a Democrat does something their party affliation is somehow missing from the text of your reporting.

    December 9, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  9. PW - Florida

    What is going on with this astronomical "white collar" crime at such high levels in government and the private sector. These skeleton's coming out of the woodwork should be dealt with as severely as the "everyday average joe". We have so many impoverish people incarcerated for some crimes that does not warrant the amount of time (e.g. possession of minor narcotics, 30 years) they get but yet when a CEO, COO or Political person commits a crime, it's front page news and yet they don't get the time for the crime, just the embarassment lost of power, position, dignity and then they move on. This is sad and it just keeps getting worse with these criminals.
    Maybe the judicial system should do a real overhaul on types of crimes and sentencing because these very white collar crimes cost taxpayers far more money than a person in the neighborhood getting caught on the streets.

    December 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  10. Gisselle - Houston TX

    Shame, Shame, Shame!

    December 9, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  11. JC- Los Angeles

    Another modern day robber baron in the political, executive or leadership ranks; sounds all too familiar.

    December 9, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  12. Tereska Chicago

    I really start to believe that change is coming to Chicago as well as our Country !!!!!!!! Bravo Patrick F .!!! You should be our next President!! We need accountability!!! We need honest people.!!

    December 9, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  13. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Another Chicago politician. Didn't his predecssor lose his job for corruption too? Since it's reported that Blagojevich wanted an ambassadorship or cabinet post out of the deal, what's the tie to the guy who would make those appointments, ie our President-elect,and part of the Chicago machine?

    December 9, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  14. vanessa

    Just when you think someone is one of the good guys. truly embarrassing

    December 9, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  15. Michelle

    Is dude crazy or what ? Blagojevich is going down in a big way.

    December 9, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  16. Bev

    I'm not surprised. Our forefathers would be sick at what's become of our Government.

    December 9, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  17. Charlie Nettleton

    I brlieve the late great Mayor Harold Washington said it and said it best. "It's hubris, it's beyond arrogance, it's arrogance gone wild". This line is fitting for Governor Rod Blagojevich.

    December 9, 2008 at 12:30 pm |
  18. Cheryl-Chi-Town

    This is a sad day for us here in Illinois, that IL, can have a president of United States elected, but we can"t seem to hire an honest Governor to continue throughout his period in office........I'm truly disgusted and appauled at the brains conduct of this lame duck governor...........what does the future hold for Illinois.

    December 9, 2008 at 12:23 pm |
  19. Cindy

    WOW...another politician getting caught for corruption! Is anyone surprised I mean really! All I can say is another on bites the dust! LOL

    Cindy...Ga.

    December 9, 2008 at 12:09 pm |