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|Blago Pleads Not Guilty to Corruption
|Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 16 charges including racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud.
Dressed in a gray suit with a light blue tie, the former governor stood with his brother Robert before Judge James B. Zagel in federal court in Chicago. Both men entered pleas of not guilty to federal corruption charges.
Rod and Robert Blagojevich were both sworn in and proceeded to answer a series of questions administered by Zagel to make sure the two were mentally stable enough to enter a plea, a standard practice in federal court.
During the 10-minute hearing, the ex-governor's lawyer, Sheldon Sorosky, told the judge, "It's not humanly possible for one lawyer to represent my client," and said he needed access to Blagojevich's campaign funds in order to hire additional lawyers. The $2 million campaign fund was frozen by the federal government after Blagojevich's arrest. That issue may be addressed next week.
Sorosky also told the judge that he would soon ask that Blagojevich's bond be enlarged to allow the former governor to travel. Outside of the courthouse, Sorosky told reporters that Blagojevich was thinking abut traveling outside of the country, but wouldn't say where.
Speaking outside of the federal courthouse while his brother Robert was taking care of his $4,500 bond, the former governor said he was happy that the process has started and said it's "the beginning of me trying to prove my innocence and clear my name and be vindicated of what are inaccurate allegations." The ex-governor again said that he "did not let the people of Illinois down."
Three other people charged in the case, fundraiser Bill Cellini, former Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris and fundraiser Chris Kelly are expected in court on Thursday.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|04 14 09 by Newsroom
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