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|Feds Bust Blagojevich; Download Indictment Here
|Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday morning at his Chicago home. Two FBI agents took Blagojevich into custody on federal corruption charges, alleging that Blagojevich and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity.
United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says the governor tried to shake people down for campaign contributions and tried to obtain personal financial benefits by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a U.S. senator to fill the seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama.
Fitzgerald says Blagojevich and others threatened to withhold state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field. He says the governor wanted certain editorial staffers fired in exchange for the help.
Fitzgerald adds that the arrest was made Tuesday so the governor would not "taint" the Senate appointment. Fitzgerald says there is no indication that Obama had any knowledge of the scheme.
A 76-page FBI affidavit lays out what was heard by FBI officials from a "bug" planted in the governor's political office as well as a wiretap placed on his home phone. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed:
* Obtaining a substantial salary for himself at either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions
* Placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year
* Promises of campaign funds, including cash up front
* A cabinet post of ambassadorship for himself
As for pay-to-play, Fitzgerald says Blagojevich tried to shake down administrators at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago for campaign donations in exchange for reimbursement funding. He says the governor also tried to shake down a contractor with ties to a tollway expansion.
Fitzgerald says the Justice Department has been investigating Blagojevich since 2003.
To read the full indictment document, CLICK HERE (PDF Document)
|12 09 08 by Newsroom
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