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Somebody lied, but who was it?

Friday, Jun 27, 2008

* Here’s the Tribune’s take

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been interviewed multiple times by federal investigators looking into allegations that he and key members of his administration offered contracts and state work in exchange for campaign fundraising help, according to documents unsealed Thursday [by Tony Rezko’s judge]. […]

Included in the newly released material was a defense filing answering government allegations leveled by key witnesses against Rezko. Veteran Democratic fundraiser Joseph Cari testified at the trial that on a flight to New York in 2003 with Blagojevich, the governor offered to give Cari his pick of contracts and state business in exchange for assistance in developing a national fundraising operation.

* But that last part is far more important than the story’s lede about how the governor was interviewed by the feds. We already know he was interviewed because he admitted it a couple of years ago. The only discrepancy is that the feds say he was interviewed “multiple times” and the governor’s office claims he was interviewed just twice, two years ago.

Here’s the real meat from the Sun-Times

Newly unsealed court files in the Tony Rezko corruption case show that… the governor denied [to investigators] having conversations described in court by two key prosecution witnesses.

That raises the possibility that either the witnesses lied under oath or that Blagojevich lied to federal agents about statements he was said to have made, tying state business to support for his campaign.

* That’s a big problem. Here’s why

[The feds] may well be exploring false-statement allegations against [Blagojevich]. Former Gov. George Ryan is serving a 6½-year sentence, in part because of making false statements to federal agents, which is a felony.


* But here is a point to keep in mind about the documents

The newly unsealed defense document challenged Cari’s truthfulness, also noting that “Cari failed to recall his conversation with the governor until his fifth interview by government agents.”

* And this is a key revelation that the the judge allowed the feds to keep quite during Tony Rezko’s trial

[Stu] Levine was the government’s star witness against Rezko, but a newly unsealed defense filing alleges that Levine only agreed to cooperate after realizing that the government had learned that he frequented male prostitutes.


The judge said that fact would simply be too explosive to discuss at trial. It’s out now, though.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ghost - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 8:53 am:

    Its all very fascinating stuff. The big problem for the Gov is the neutral evidence which tends to support the witness’s. For example, just the number of 25k checks from contractors supports the prosecutions version against the Gov.

  2. - DumberThanULook - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:02 am:

    Is 2 not a “multiple” of 1?

  3. - Budget Watcher - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:10 am:

    Who lied…Cari, Levine, Ata or the Gov? Hmmmmm, I wouldn’t want to pick the most trustworthy out of that group.

  4. - Macbeth - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:11 am:

    It does seem like the “false statement” is a particularly problematic point for our beloved governor. He’s definitely the type who constructs a particular view of a situation — and believes that view as opposed to the situation itself.

    So it’s quite possible — probable, IMHO — that he has made false statements. But what’s weird — and perhaps insidious — is that he’ll never admit to making a false statement because he’ll believe that the statements are true.

    It’s a particular issue with narcissists, of which our governor is certainly one. I don’t mean to go ad hominem here. But he does have the obvious (and fatal, IMHO) flaw of accepting no alternative belief modes. It’s his view — or it’s his view. There’s no either/or with that guy.

    But I’m sure we’ll forget all this, however, when we vote him in a third time.

  5. - Ghost - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:12 am:

    that would be the mathmatical definition. But I think they were refering to it in the language sense as an adjective, standing for several or many. In traditional word useage we use multiple, several or many when there are 3 or more items, parts etc being referenced.

  6. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:14 am:

    There’s so much lying going on, I don’t know who’s telling the truth anymore.

  7. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:14 am:

    The ability of the government to charge felonies for making false statements to federal agents is a real hammer. It’s too much power.

    Henry Cisneros was indicted and convicted for lying during his pre-cabinet-appointment vetting by the FBI about the amount he had paid his mistress. He admitted the mistress, admitted paying her, but lied about the amount. Mind you, the feds weren’t investigating a crime when they interviewed him — it was basically a job interview. When they discovered the discrepancy, here comes the special prosecutor.

    You can lie to the cops all you want and everybody does. You just can’t lie under oath in court or before a grand jury.

    I wouldn’t have blamed Rob is he stoned them, made them haul him before a grand jury. Now. he’s locked in.

  8. - Dan S, a voter and Cubs Fan - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:14 am:

    To the casual observer it would appear that they ALL lied to some extent. I feel for the Federal prosicutor having to sort thru all of this, all parties concerned seem to have been involved in illegal activity. Go for all possible indictments and let a jury sort it out.

  9. - Anonymous45 - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:15 am:

    So Rich, what do you make of the current strength of the case against the Guv at this point in time?

    Methinks it doesn’t have enough teeth or at least not enough pointy ones…

  10. - DumberThanULook - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:26 am:

    By every definition I found,multiple means more than 1.
    But I don’t know better than anyone else what thbe judge meant.

  11. - Pants on Fire - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:33 am:

    I agree with wordslinger that making false statements to the feds is a real hammer. Just look at one of Sorich’s co-defendents (Sullivan?). He was convicted for lying to the feds. But the G-man couldn’t remember the exact time & date of the interview, produced no notes, and could not remember exactly the question that was asked. He still got convicted and served time. I believe that was the only crime they convicted him for.

  12. - Macbeth - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:36 am:

    I think the issue for the governor isn’t the number of times — 1 versus 2, or 1 versus 3. It’s the use of the word “multiple.”

    I’m certain that it’s the word itself that the governor’s office objects to — not the definition.

    The word “multiple” has shades of a deliberate and pointed repitition — implying, perhaps, an agenda-driven consistency. This is aggressive. The governor wants his future voters to know that not only is there no consistency to the interviews but that, good golly, there’s certainly no agenda-driven consistency.

    Hence, “two” is much less aggressive than “multiple.”

  13. - Siyotanka - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:37 am:

    Selective memory can be good and can be bad. As we all know in todays world things, both small and large, happen in our daily lives. Remembering the details gets mixed with reality and fiction. Yes, large details should be remembered, but it is the importantance we put on those details that imprint into our memory. I know as one gets more involved in activities, the more the details blurr. But, events as stated in the interviews and in the Rezko case should be crystal clear…if I were the one being indicted or tried.

  14. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:39 am:

    Drowning in the mundane… how about the larger picture that state government is being run by liars, drug abusers and johns?

    Helllloooo, Wisconsin!

  15. - Anon - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:44 am:

    “There’s so much lying going on, I don’t know who’s telling the truth anymore.”

    Not me! I swear on my mother’s grave!

  16. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:45 am:

    Can we get a scoreboard showing how many posts on the prostitute subject have been removed? I don’t know of any for sure, but I suspect some snarkiness would cross Rich’s line…..

  17. - Irishpirate - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:03 am:

    What kind of self respecting male hooker would admit to having sex with Levine?

    As for Blago allegedly lying “I am shocked” to find lying and deceit among our elected leaders. Now I should say something about rounding up people.

  18. - Ghost - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:06 am:

    definition of multiple: consisting of, having, or involving several or many individuals, parts, elements, relations, etc.; manifold.

    Thus it is defined with the word several and many so

    Definition of Several: being more than two but fewer than many in number or kind: several ways of doing it.

    Definition of many: a large or considerable number of persons or things.

    So we have multiple being commonly used to be more then 2.

  19. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:11 am:

    Quote Quiz: Who recently said, “But when I say stuff, I wish people would look around and see what I say, when I say it and why I say it and start thinking about it a little bit before they start making comments about what I say.”

    a) Stuart Levine
    b) Rob Blagojevich
    c) Scott Fawell
    d) Ozzie Guillen
    e) Lou Pinella

  20. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    In the fine print of Viagra commercials, they always state ‘not studied for multiple attempts.’ I take that meaning as more than one, not more than two.

  21. - Anon - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:17 am:

    You have a typo. It reads “quite” where you probably meant “quiet”.

  22. - North of I-80 - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:18 am:

    Martha Stewart, Henry Cisneros and Scooty Libby are the poster children for not answering truthfully to federal agents.

  23. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:27 am:

    Bill Clinton’s impeachment case hinged on “what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” So now Blago’s impeachment may depend on what the meaning of “several” or “multiple” is?

  24. - Anon - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:32 am:

    In Scooter Libby’s case at least it was a grand jury proceeding in which he “lied.”

    The real problem (esp. for the current Governor) is that the standard for charging “lying” to a federal agent / grand jury has been radically changed by the current U.S. Attorney. Formerly, to support a charge of “lying” (1) the “lie” had to concern a concrete fact (e.g. denying you accepted money from Individual A when they have a canceled check made out from Individual A to you); and (2) there had to be doucmentary proof of the untruth (e.g. the canceled check) or contrary testimony from at least two other witnesses.

    The standard seemingly employed is “we will charge you with lying if we don’t believe you” with the idea that a jury will exonerate anyone incorrectly charged.

    Of course they have unwavering faith in the jury system. A jury has yet to exonerate anyone they’ve charged in the past five years.

  25. - Greg - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:33 am:

    This is getting silly. Multiple means more than 1, but somebody using “multiple” in reference to “2″ is most likely trying to draw attention to magnitude, since 2 would only be meeting the word’s definitional minimum.

  26. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:36 am:

    The problem with using legal solutions is that the bar is set too low for societal benefits. Just because something isn’t illegal, doesn’t make it right. We know this. As voters, we expect more from our leaders than any legal explanation defending them. Judge Blagojevich not on legal grounds, but on higher grounds. We will not get better government as long as we allow lawyers to set our minimum standards - those are too low.

    So enough with the games regarding legal definitions for everyday words. Enough with measuring the credibility of every witness, punk, liar and bum dragged before us. We need to see the big picture, not a lawyer’s brief. Impeachment is not dependant on legal circumstances, not should it be.

    Justice is not dependant on laws, courts or lawyers. Truth is not dependant on testimonies, character witnesses or legal strategies. We should not lower ourselves to these levels.

    A governor should not be hanging by a legal definition. The situation he is finding himself in should by itself warrant his replacement. It should be understood by all elected officials that conditions exist whereby voters will expect their removal from office when they fail to be effective in office. This is the standard we use in daily life, in our working life, so it should also be in our civic life.

    There is no cadre of enlightened citizenry waiting to be annointed with elected office, and elections do not annoint them as superhuman. There are no groups of educated elites capable of unfaltering decision making to steer our government. Instead we get men and women with all their flaws. We have a system reflecting these shortcoming. We have mechanisms within it to remove these flawed people from office.

    So while many posters today will enjoy splitting hairs and arguing over liar’s testimonies, they need to recognize that by delving into these legal games, they lower themselves and our political conversations, but still fail to solve our current dilemma.

    Even after Blagojevich is gone, where would we be if we still measured future governors with these shrunken legal yardsticks? Throw them away and start demanding better!

  27. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:38 am:

    It’s been two years since he last talked to the Feds? Personally, I think it’s bad when the Feds want to talk to you, but it’s worse when they STOP talking to you (without clearing you).

  28. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:39 am:

    We will not get better government as long as we allow lawyers to set our minimum standards - those are too low.

    Ahem! I meant “too high”! LOL!

  29. - siriusly - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:52 am:

    If someone said more than two and Rog Blagojevich actually said two, I would say that is not a lie by his standards. He has told so many clearly blatant lies that this one almost has some “truthiness” to it.

    This is a wrong we must right. Clearly Governor Rod Blagojevich is being falsely accused of covering up the number times he has been interviewed by the FBI regarding corruption in his administration. I think he should demand a public apology from that lawyer and all the press!

  30. - Leave a light on George - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    Investigators, even federal ones will give potential defendants one lie. It’s when you repeat it and/or add to it in subsequent interviews after the investigator knows it’s a lie that your goose is cooked.

    The gov would have been better off to make the public statement “We don’t do business like that” and not submitted to personal interview(s) with the feds. But he’s a lawyer and I’m not so what the heck do I know?

  31. - Little Egypt - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 11:54 am:

    I don’t really give a rat’s behind how many times “multiple” means. Blago supporters can hang their hat on twice. Non-supporters can only guess how many “multiple” means. The fact is that we have a governor that Fitz is getting very close to. And it really makes no difference whether Levine, Cari, Rezko, etc. lied. At this point, Fitz has Blago caught in his crosshairs and he’s focusing the scope. I just wish Fitz would announce an indictment before the IDOT workers have to begin their weekly drive to Harrisburg.

  32. - Gregor - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 12:07 pm:

    If this governor greeted me with “good morning”, I would have to check my watch and look out my window to see if it was light out. The man wakes up in the morning with a lie on his lips, and goes to bed lying. In between is a day full of prevarication, mendacity, fibbing, story-telling, fabrication, dissembling, perjury, misleading and taradiddling.

    Then comes lunch.

    This governor reminds me of the quote from Alice in Wonderland, regarding how many impossible things he will do today. And the state is run like the Mad Hatter’s in charge.

    You can’t believe a single thing the man says, it has been proven over and over again.

  33. - Bookworm - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 12:38 pm:

    As old-fashioned as I am, I feel that visiting male prostitiutes was probably one of Stu Levine’s lesser sins when compared to all his lying, cheating and attempting to bilk millions out of various entities and even from a close relative. That revelation is about as “explosive” as a wet cherry bomb.

  34. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 2:35 pm:

    Mr. Levine was visiting male prostitutes - and - working with Rod Blagojevich and Friends!

    No wonder he appeared so confused! It is a challenge to tell the two groups apart!

  35. - Joe D's Cousin Ralph - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 2:39 pm:

    The feds may have stopped talking to him 2 years ago because they notified him that he was now a target of an investigation.

  36. - Carlos - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 4:46 pm:

    Why do you think Friends of Blagojevich has direct deposit to Winston $$$ Strawn.

  37. - Sheryl - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 5:03 pm:

    Just check out all checks/contributions that consultants, contractors and whoever else wanted to do business with the Illinois Tollway.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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