Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Boxed in by the feds
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Boxed in by the feds

Thursday, Feb 19, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This had to happen sooner or later…

Federal authorities have hit former first lady Patti Blagojevich with a federal subpoena dealing with recent charges lodged against her husband, raising new questions over whether she will become part of a grand jury indictment expected by early April.

The subpoena, with which Patti Blagojevich reportedly complied, asked for any documents, notes or e-mails she had related to more than 40 people or entities — from former gubernatorial fund-raisers Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly to her own real estate dealings.

Patti Blagojevich’s lawyer, Raymond Pijon, told the Chicago Sun-Times that federal authorities have great discretion over whether to charge her — and that he hopes they’ll consider the “family structure” as they weigh that decision. […]

Just because she has been cooperative doesn’t mean she’s going to flip on her husband, her lawyer said.

I really don’t like it when the G goes after family matters, particularly on unrelated issues. This is different, however, in that the allegations apparently are directly or at least related to state government.

Still, just imagine the pressure. Flip on your own husband, the father of your two children, or face the wrath of Fitz.

Lots of people have told me over the years about how much they detest Mrs. Blagojevich. I liked her, perhaps because I saw her human side. And whether she brought it on herself or not, I can’t help but feel sorry for her and her children right now. The husband is an entirely different matter.

* Related…

* New Treasurer of Blagojevich Campaign Committee

          Click here to help buy presents for LSSI foster kids!

  1. - Pat collins - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:35 am:

    he hopes they’ll consider the “family structure”

    The Feds certainly did in the ENRON case, which is similar. They convicted the wife, who was in finance, and the hubby, who was a top VP. They got hubby to plead so his wife would get a deal.

    Problem was, a Fed Judge demanded she serve prison time.

    And she did, a year. Their kids were elem. and preschool, I think.

    A shot across the bow, beyond any doubt.

  2. - Stooges - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:44 am:

    It just makes me wonder how complicit she is in the dealings with Rezko. If she was assisting in the planning of the schemes to get real estate commissions in return for the gov doing favors for Rezko and others (and that’s the way it appears), then she is in deep. I still think she’ll stay out of prison and Roddy will do the time.

  3. - Cassandra - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:46 am:

    With respect to Enron, didn’t the couple get to serve sequential sentences so one could be with the kids?

  4. - The Doc - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:48 am:

    Sympathy for the children, absolutely. But not for Patti. She’s kneep-deep in this mess, and if convicted, should only avoid prison time for the benefit of her kids.

  5. - Pat collins - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:49 am:

    True, but they had to work that out with the Feds. That means, “co-operating” and “playing nicely”.

    I do not see that happening yet.

  6. - Cynic - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:51 am:

    The Doc –
    I’m not apologist for G-Rod or any of the Illinois pols, but I really wonder how involved Patti was. Sure she has a potty mouth, but so what? Did she have any real authority to do anything in the political sphere or was she merely a wife trying to support her husband (albeit profanely)?

  7. - Fire Ron Guenther - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:53 am:

    Cassandra is correct on the sequential order of sentencing so the kids had at least one parent at home

  8. - Ghost - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:55 am:

    I beleive under the spousal imunity doctorine Blago’s attorneys can bar patti from testifying against him. i.e. if I have the priveledge correct it can be asserted by the husband even if the wife is consenting

  9. - Chicago way - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:58 am:

    Cynic, you have missed the point. The feds are not going after her for disparaging remarks about the tribune and the cubs. If they were, the entire city would be accountable. She has her own real estate dealings and her own business dealing that have been the source of fed investigation since well before Rod was arrested. Any case against her may completely be separate on the merits and could be a completely separate indictment

  10. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 9:59 am:

    The issue with Patti relates to her income from real estate deals, many with Tony Rezko. The questions being, of course, how she got that business and whether the income she received from it was truly earned by her or intended to be a payoff for Rod’s governmental decisions. Instead of handing a bribe to the public official, disguise it as commissions from a business deal and give it to his wife.

  11. - Deeda - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:00 am:

    I feel so bad for the kids. Can you imagine what the kids are saying to them in school? If both parents get put in jail what is going to happen to there kids?

  12. - The Doc - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:01 am:


    If the subpoenas are any indication, her involvement appears pretty significant.

    I don’t give a hoot about her profanity - but her apparent willingness to vigorously support her husband’s endeavors is telling. And her real estate dealings have been a source of rampant speculation and scrutiny for quite a while.

  13. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:02 am:

    Met her once. She came off as rude and arrogant. But, that’s not against the law. If she was getting real estate deals as a way to pay off her husband for favors, that’s another story.

  14. - Euripides - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:02 am:

    Alas, thou bride of disaster.

  15. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:04 am:

    As I recall the spousal privilege cannot prevent a spouse from testifying against a defendant if that spouse wants to testify (they can refuse), but the defendant can invoke privilege to protect marital confidences, or conversations they had in private, from being disclosed if they do testify.

  16. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:06 am:

    Ferdinand? Meet Imelda.

  17. - Stooges - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:10 am:

    Its a pretty good stretch to think that Patti was the mousy spouse that let her husband concoct deals with his cronies, while she obliviously collected real estate commissions. If there was a deal, she was in on it. I like the sequential prison terms idea.

  18. - publius - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:11 am:

    lets not forget she took the pay to play job at the industrial league—we know rod wasn’t the brains of the outfit—perhaps…..

  19. - Levois - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:12 am:

    If people didn’t like her then she must be about as nasty as Blago. Either that or they don’t like her because of her husband. Well I don’t know and I shouldn’t have comments.

    I hope that for the sake of their children they don’t have to do time. I can’t determine how deep she is in Blago’s corruption, although, we do know she supported him in holding up that Cubs deal. Man he was even cold to a team he publicly supports.

  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:14 am:

    Clearly, the thought is that her fortune in real estate commissions were intended to disguise payoffs. Not a particularly ingenuous scheme, if true.

    I don’t know her, but she doesn’t strike me as a victim. Still, I’m old-school — if Rod has a chance to make a deal to keep her out of trouble, he should do it.

  21. - Wacker Drive - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:21 am:

    “Blagojevich Campaign Committee” should be renamed The Blagojevich Family Stimulus

  22. - Sangamon - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:38 am:

    As far as I can tell, Patti has a supporting brother and sister. Surely, someone would take the kids. But, we are years ahead of ourselves, here. The wheels of justice move slowly.

    Having kids didn’t keep Scott Fawell’s fiance out of prison. Heck, she didn’t even lose custody.

    I have to wonder how the Blagojevich’s are supporting themselves. That might be pretty good punishment in itself.

  23. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:40 am:

    I’m no Blagojevich apologist, but they have him dead to rights eight ways to Sunday. Is it really necessary to lock up his wife, as well?

    Couldn’t the U.S. Attorney’s office use their resources to, say, put a dent in the gang and drug problem in Chicago or solve the thousands of open Chicago-area bank robberies instead? Why is Patti Blagojevich even worth their time?

  24. - Stooges - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 10:43 am:

    I would be interested to know what advice her father is giving her. Surely he has a strong opinion and is not inclined to help Rod unless it benefits her and the grandkids.

  25. - Thomas Westgard - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 11:02 am:

    It has been my observation that, when faced with a Bonnie and Clyde team, prosecutors focus on the man as the head of the criminal behavior and give women a pass. I’ll take a wait-and-see approach since I don’t know what Patti did, but if she committed crimes, that’s the only relevant thing.

    I guess I’m reacting against the idea that their “family structure” matters, or even what that’s a code for. The underlying message is what, fathers are expendable, but if you put a mother in prison the kids will suffer? Rod and Patti are apparently a team of felons who have been robbing the state of a functioning government for years. Convict them both, and put the kids into the same process that other people have to go through. That is the system we have, and selective prosecution based on sexism is not the answer to its limitations.

    Illinois has kept people in solitary confinement at Tamms for a decade. We have people in prison for selling small quantities of marijuana. If we’re going to start having compassion for prisoners and reconsider our policies of excessive punishment, Patti Blagojevich is a really screwy place to start.

  26. - Macbeth - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 11:03 am:

    === I have to wonder how the Blagojevich’s are supporting themselves. ===

    I assumed he’s got an advance on a book deal. My understanding was that the second round of the media blitz was also used to visit publishers in NYC. If he’s willing to name names — and burn every single bridge he can think of — I’m assuming the advance would be pretty sizable.

    I’m not sure who will buy the book — or if it’ll be like the OJ Simpson book — but it’ll probably have a good market the first few days for those who are checking to see if their names are mentioned.

  27. - Dan S, a Voter, Taxpayer and Cubs Fan - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 11:04 am:

    I just thank God I have never met or crossed paths with Milorad, everything he has ever touched seems to explode. How can one buffoon cause so much pain.

  28. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 11:08 am:

    I believe that Patti should be compelled to assist in skewering Rodex-Gov and be given an out if she cooperates fully. One chance, the offer is on the table for 15 minutes, then all hell breaks loose. It doesn’t matter what her personality is. Her being complicit in the corruption only serves to expose her to possible prosecution and she becomes a tool in Fitz’s belt to help bring Rodex-Gov to the federal prison. Make a deal to get the bigger fish. She will serve her own “term” while her husband is in prison. Do you think anyone will hire her under these circumstances? I’m sure daddy Mell will offer help but can Patti go back on her knees to him? I won’t speculate further since I think she is the small fish to be turned on her husband. She will have enough to handle caring for her children after it is all over.

  29. - Cynic - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 11:19 am:

    The real estate questions are going to be hard to answer. Sure, she probably got deals from people wanting to get access to the former Gov. But was there an explicit quid pro quo? That’s going to be hard to prove unless it’s 1) on tape or b) someone rolls over on her.

  30. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 11:23 am:

    Cynic, you did hear Rezko got moved to much better quarters a while back and his sentencing was put off?

  31. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 11:38 am:

    If the feds are going after Patti it is because her moronic husband cares only about himself and is willing to let her go down with him. He is the most unchivalrous of characters. My son calls him Jafar-the bad guy from Aladdin.

  32. - Ultra50k - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 11:53 am:

    If she’s guilty she should go to jail just like anybody else. If she did something wrong she should have considered the impact on her children at that time…not now. How are we going to deter people from wrongdoing’s if we give them a pass for their children’s sake, or any other reason.

  33. - Legaleagle - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 12:14 pm:

    Part of the case against Gov. Ryan was based on benefits flowing to his family members instead of to him personally. That’s still a “thing of value” for bribery and federal extortion charges. Normally a person who is a subject of an investigation will take the fifth and decline to authenticate and produce any subpoenaed documents. Her compliance with the subpoena is curious.

  34. - Little Egypt - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 12:29 pm:

    From what has been talked about on this blog and elsewhere over the past few years, I believe Patti is up to her behind in dirty real estate deals. Asking for information regarding her husband’s dealings is just adding ammunition to the fire. The Feds are putting pressure on her for just reason. They think she is dirty in her own right and are now looking for more.

    Rich, if you like her because you saw her human side, I would suggest she is a great actress and that is the side she wanted you to see. YOU are respected by the Illinois politicians and they don’t want you on their bad side. I believe the rude, crude, foul-mouthed woman others have seen is the true Patti Blagojevich. She has a deeply-etched scowl that could kill. That didn’t happen in the last 6 years. It’s been a life-long attitude.

    I wish I could have some compassion for this outfit. Unfortunately children “live what they learn”. I truly hope the girls’ innocence can be salvaged.

    Imagine the stomach acid being generated in that household. Book deal? There’s not much demand at the moment for a book entitled “I’m Innocent”, which would contain a few rote chapters: The fix was in; There’s a tax hike coming; I’m the anti-Nixon - I want ALL of the tapes released; They wouldn’t let me call my witnesses; The people elected me twice; I’ve provided health care to thousands of families; Mike Madigan the devil; Mammograms for all women; I’ve done nothing wrong; and last but not least - I’ve wanted to be on the Letterman Show in the worst way.

  35. - Chanson - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 12:33 pm:

    Just because Patty is famous/infamous, does not mean she shouldn’t serve time. Lesser known couples must deal with it all the time. Under the circumstances,the kids could even now be better off in the home of a close relative and away from the drama.

  36. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    What if Patti is the real brains of the outfit (well, ok, not “if”) and Rod was the innocent dupe? The feds cut a deal to let her walk if one or the other comes completely clean, and when the full story is told, it turns out that she’s the one who is really guilty?

  37. - carbon deforestation - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 1:52 pm:

    Trib Sun Times Merger?

    Rich - have you noticed that the Tribune online has been using a lot of Courtesy Chicago Sun-Times articles lately? Even adding the link to the Sun-Times website at the bottom of this one,0,2164073.story

    Do you think they are exploring a merger or something like that?

  38. - Qwerty - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 1:58 pm:

    Slightly off topic. From the STL Post Dispatch:

    Publishers Weekly reports that a book about the “now-notorious” former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is being rushed to print. The publisher will be Ivan R. Dee, a small Chicago-based nonfiction house.

    ”Pay to Play: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow” by PBS correspondent Elizabeth Brackett is scheduled to go on sale in May.
    According to PW: “Brackett, who works for ‘The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,’ has followed Blagojevich’s career for some time now; she initially profiled him in 2002. The book, which shows how Blagojevich’s upbringing ultimately led to his comically tragic fall from grace, is getting a sizable push from the house, which has announced a first printing of 25,000 copies.”

  39. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 2:01 pm:

    Patti may be at the root of some of Rod’s problems. She was the one who nixed setting up house in the Governor’s Mansion (Even Governor Thompson used the mansion on at least a part-time basis) and this stupid gesture of contempt for downstate ruffled some feathers needlessly. I would be hard pressed to think of a First Lady of Illinois who maintained a lower profile than Patti Blagojevich in terms of supporting charities and the like. She was too consumed with money.

  40. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 2:07 pm:

    ===this stupid gesture of contempt for downstate===

    What a crock. They had kids in school. They didn’t want their kids going to school here for obvious reasons. Jim Thompson moved back to the city when his kid was old enough to go to school.

    It may have been perceived that way by people who refused to listen or have a bit of empathy. But that’s their problem.

    Give it a rest.

    Also, downstaters really need to stop looking for validation from others.

  41. - Ghost - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 4:29 pm:

    Legaleagle your missing the fun stuff, a RICO action against patti….

  42. - TOO BAD SOO SAD - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 5:54 pm:

    I don’t feel anything for Patti, Blago, or their kids. These people break the law and should pay for their crimes. If you don’t want things like this to happen, then don’t do the crime. Something tells me that maybe the kids would be better off without parents like this. Grandpa Mel will make sure the kids are taken care of.

    Just imagine if this was one of us, do you think the Feds would give a rats petunia what happens to our kids.

  43. - Toast Man - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 7:43 pm:

    If convicted wouldn’t Rod have to forfeit any earnings made on the book? Isn’t there a law in Illinois, courtesy of John Wayne Gacy, that criminals cannot profit from exploiting their notoriety gained from crimes they committed?

  44. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 7:44 pm:

    A book on Blago by Elizabeth Brackett? I doubt it. What are her bona fides?

    Sounds like a quicky cut and paste job. Unless you can give some real insight on the real “pay to play,” and not stuff that’s just been reported, it’s not a real book.

  45. - WindyCityGardener - Thursday, Feb 19, 09 @ 8:24 pm:

    The comparison I have heard from people who know Patti is Leona Helmsley “Queen of Mean”.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Afternoon roundup
* The labor beat
* Alden Global Capital is expanding their usual business of gutting newsrooms to buying up mobile home parks
* Question of the day: 2022 Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Winnebago County state's attorney regrets past remarks, says SAFE-T Act "more of a collection issue"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** House Firearm Safety & Reform Working Group rolls out its new bill
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Morning briefing
* Open thread
* Live coverage
* 2022 veto session cheat sheet
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...








Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller