Fitzgerald press conference open thread *** UPDATED WITH TRANSCRIPT ***
Tuesday, Dec 9, 2008
*** CLICK HERE FOR A RUSH TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRESSER ***
* Fitzgerald: “A political corruption crime spree.”
“He attempted to sell a Senate seat.”
* Fizgerald said that rather than the corruption slowing down after Rezko’s conviction, they sped up.
* The bill sitting on the governor’s desk regarding horse racing subsidies can be found at this link.
* It’s pretty clear from reading the indictment that President-elect Obama refused to go along with any pay to play deal on the US Senate appointment, and that was just mentioned by Fitzgerald. From the indictment…
Senate Candidate 1 is most likely Valerie Jarrett.
* Fitzgerald: “The conduct we have before us is appallling.”
* Fitzgerald essentially asked that we “not cast aspersions” on people who are listed under code words in the indictment unless they are already charged.
* Fitzgerald said he was “quite heartened” by people who have come forward to talk to the feds.
* FBI Chicago director: Agents were “Thoroughly disgusted and revolted by what they heard [on the recordings]”
* Fitzgerald said the office acted because of that horse racing blll sitting on the governor’s desk, the hospital grant that may have been held up because of pressure over campaign contributions, and a Tribune editor who could’ve been laid off if Blagojevich was allowed to proceed. The Senate seat, which Blagojevich “talked about selling this like a sports agent,” was also a major factor.
* Fitzgerald said he would continue to investigate to see if others mentioned may have been involved, but he said some may have had no idea that they were being discussed.
* Fitzgerald said he wouldn’t speak to whether the president-elect was aware of anything, but stressed that there are no allegations that he was aware of anything.
* Fitz said it would have been “irresponsible” to wait until later to bring charges.
* “We need people in the public to stand up and say ‘Enough.’”
* Off-topic, but here’s House GOP Leader Tom Cross’ letter to Gov. Blagojevich that I told you about earlier…
* Fitz on separating old fashioned politics from actual criminality: “It is criminal when people are doing it for their personal enrichment, and they’re doing it in a way that is truly criminal.”
* The FBI called the governor about 6 o’clock in the morning and informed him that two FBI agents were at the door. The governor was advised that the FBI wanted to do this as quietly as possible so as not to wake his children. The governor initially asked if this was a joke. He was handcuffed.
* Fitzgerald said the Tribune agreed to hold onto a story for several days about the governor’s conversations being recorded.
* Also off topic…