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He disgraces whomever he touches

Wednesday, Jun 2, 2010

* Whatever

A Chicago radio station is pulling the plug on former Gov. Rod Blagojevich - at least for now.

Officials with WLS-AM say they’re putting Blagojevich’s Sunday radio show on hiatus until after the Chicago Democrat’s federal corruption trial. WLS says it’s making the move out of respect for the legal process and it will re-evaluate the show’s status after the trial.

WLS has respect for the legal process? Huh. Could’ve fooled me. They let an obvious criminal take over their airwaves every week and spew his nonsense, then fawned all over him on other programs.

Until they lost their freaking minds over there, I would always gladly agree to appear on that station whenever they asked. I grew up listening to WLS. For a kid living in the country, the station seemed at times like my own personal lifeline to the outside world. I was actually giddy the first time I met Bob Sirott and John “Records” Landecker. I wanted so badly to be in radio back then so I could be like those two guys. Now, I’m embarrassed for them.

* No sympathy

A federal judge in Chicago has turned down a last-minute request from former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys to delay his corruption trial.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Blagojevich’s lawyers say they haven’t had time to prepare.

Maybe they would’ve been better prepared if their client hadn’t been gallivanting all over the country with his clown show.

* Half true

Rod Blagojevich thought he was elected by the people. He believed, and still believes, it was an adoring and fawning electorate who put him in office as their beloved king. He tells anyone who will listen that their governor was stolen from his loving people.

He never got it. He was a pawn. A dupe. A front. All dressed up as a populist reformer by the boys. For a student of history, Rod Blagojevich is pretty ignorant. He either chose to ignore, or forgot, the Cook County Democratic Party- the boys who elected him to office- was modeled after the Mob. Anton Cermak modeled his monolithic bloc based on the structure of the Capone syndicate.

One of the patterns the mob was known for was using honest appearing front men to run some of their “legitimate” operations. The front man was supposed to do what he was told and keep his mouth shut. Blagojevich ignored that part of the equation.

It’s true that politics here is based on the Outfit structure. What’s not true is that, after leaving Congress, Rod Blagojevich was ever considered a front man for the bad guys. He was the bad guy. He barely spoke to anyone else in power. He tucked himself into a tight little coccoon of criminal sycophants and hatched his goofy plots. And, believe, me, the man had plenty of goofy plots.

* The G continues to leak its trial strategy. No Rezko unless he’s absolutely needed

Sources with knowledge of the government’s case say prosecutors think Rezko is too risky to put on the stand. Rezko will only take the stand, they say, if the case takes a turn and prosecutors think his testimony is needed.

The sources say prosecutors fear Rezko brings with him much baggage of his own wrongdoing and that he’ll “go off the reservation,” in testimony. His presence as an Obama fund-raiser — and onetime neighbor — may also create a distraction, they say.

Most notably, however, Rezko has publicly disparaged the prosecution.

In 2008, Rezko wrote his then-trial judge, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve, to tell her he was being pressured to lie about Blagojevich and then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

“They are pressuring me to tell them the ‘wrong’ things that I supposedly know about Gov. Blagojevich and Sen. Obama,” he wrote. “I have never been party to any wrongdoing that involved the governor or the senator. I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes.”

At the time Rezko wrote the letter, he had never submitted to an interview by the feds nor had he proffered a statement to them. Such a letter can be overcome by the prosecution, but it’s still fodder for the defense and distracts jurors, said defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor Dean Polales.

* Roundup…

* Blagojevich planning to challenge charges on witness stand

* A huddle on the eve of Blago’s trial

* Blagojevich’s bravado continues before trial

* Thoughts prior to the curtain going up on the Blago trial

* News media makes plea to Blagojevich judge to reveal juror names

* Media seek juror IDs in Blagojevich trial

* News organizations seek Blagojevich juror names

* Blagojevich defense promises to be anything but bland

* The reinvention of Rod Blagojevich

* The Blago blitz

* Not hard to feel sympathy for Blago’s brother

* Wiretap tapes key as Blagojevich goes on trial

* Blagojevich Bets That Wiretap Playing Will Lead to Acquittal

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 12:25 pm:


    Are you bringing hair to Chicago this week? Maybe we can grab a drink at Cavanaughs and see who pops in?

    To the post, I still firmly believe there won’t be the fireworks some of us were hoping for. I think the trial will be very underwhelming for many. And I’ll restate my pledge: I’ll send $100 to Rich’s favorite charity if Rod takes the stand in his own defense.

    I figure jury selection and the prosecution will last 4-5 weeks. The defense will take maybe one full week, and we’re done by mid-July with no real drama. It could be done by the 4th too, if Rezko really isn’t needed.

  2. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 12:29 pm:

    bringing *your* hair…

  3. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 12:32 pm:

    Oh come on, that was good radio. Just had to take it for what it was, typical over the top talk radio with a narcissistic host.

    You do have to admit, Blago’s running joke where he would do a shout out to Quinn to get out of bed (early afternoon) and call the show to defend this or that was a funny bit. Plus at least you got to hear lots of Elvis clips.

    He’ll be going away soon enough, likely for quite awhile.

  4. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 12:35 pm:

    Illinois has had some bad governors. Their damage was often mitigated by a strong state economy, other strong political leaders, and by their need to be re-elected. We have had bad governors, but hadn’t suffered as badly as we have under Rod Blagojevich.

    He came right after Ryan. Rod Blagojevich was supposed to be the nostrum to Illinois corruption. Electing nobody in 2002 would have been better than Rod Blagojevich. After 30 years of GOP rule, Rod Blagojevich was supposed to be the change cynical voters needed. He sold himself this way. He set us up to believe at a time when we were unwilling to believe.

    Then when we trusted him, he did this.

    He did this to us at an economic time when we needed a competent leader. He did this to us when we needed to have faith in our state government. He did this to us when we needed to trust the Democratic Party again after Dan Walker and Otto Kerner, his Democratic predecessors.

    There are governors who are bad, then there is Rod Blagojevich - a bad governor at a bad time.

  5. - Stooges - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 12:40 pm:

    Don’t forget Larry Lujack and JJ Jeffries on the great WLS of the 60’s and 70’s.

    Can you imagine when Rod gets our of prison in 6 years or so, how hard he’ll work to get back into the limelight?

  6. - this old hack - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 12:46 pm:

    Rich, I thought the same thing when I read the piece about his brother. He ruins everything he touches…or disgraces them/it/etc. Unbelievable what a disater this guy has been for the Democratic Party and the state of IL as a whole.

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 12:51 pm:

    ===gets our of prison in 6 years===

    I’m pretty sure it’ll be more than that.

  8. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 12:52 pm:

    ===was a funny bit===

    I feel sorry for you. Truly, I do.

  9. - truthman - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    I agree with 47th Ward: Blago will not take the stand in his defense.

    And Blago has the nerve to call the Feds cowards!

  10. - Aldyth - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    Illinois voters love a successful crook. As long as you are clever enough to avoid indictment, chances are you’ll be re-elected. If you are foolish enough to let the feds get the goods on you, you aren’t going to be admired nearly as much.

    Poor Blago. If he had been more savvy about his alleged illegal activities, he would probably still have the job.

  11. - PFK - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:24 pm:

    Maybe Scott Lee Cohen can fill in for Blago on WLS. Ratings should improve, because Cohen can pay people to listen to it.

  12. - wizard - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:32 pm:

    Larry Lujack and Little Tommy. Animal Stories and the Cheap Trashy Shobiz Report. Those were the days:)

  13. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:35 pm:

    I always believed that Rod would walk on these charges, I find it hard to envision that ONE juror could not be persuaded to vote NOT GUILTY.

    Still do.

    Rod is wily as a fox, he only appears to be Wiley Coyote.

  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:38 pm:

    Cincinnatus, I saw commenters use that same logic during the impeachment and Senate trial.

    Some commenters, mostly conservative, were convinced, without offering up much evidence, that African-American Senators would stick with RRB. His removal was unanimous.

    The case is air tight, the rules are stacked against him and during the Ryan trial they even kicked off a sympathetic juror. He’s going down.

  15. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:46 pm:

    I believe that the jury will be influenced by the Sestak fiasco. They will ask themselves, “What’s the difference?” And remember, one juror, who have had months to think about this case, under pressure from only the rest of the jurors may have less pressure to vote for conviction. The legislators were voting during the heat of the Blago disclosures and the election was on the horizon.

    Guess who I think may have a bit more spine to vote their convictions at the risk of being wrong.

  16. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:50 pm:

    One last comment, The House voted to impeach with a final tally of 114-1. The important number is 1.

  17. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===The important number is 1.===

    Deborah Mell won’t be on the jury Cinci.

  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:54 pm:

    ===I believe that the jury will be influenced by the Sestak fiasco===

    Then you don’t know much about juries. Most of the jurors in Ryan’s trial didn’t even know who he was. I doubt anyone outside of junkies actually know or care about that Sestak stuff.

  19. - Lincoln Parker - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:56 pm:

    That 1 was his sister in-law, pretty sure anyone related to him would be screened out.

  20. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:57 pm:

    Aside from your obvious mistakes, go ahead and keep dreaming, Cincinnatus, if that’s what floats your boat. But be prepared to bring better arguments next time you visit. Thanks for playing.

  21. - One of the 35 - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 1:59 pm:

    You guys are all just youngsters. I remember back to the WLS days of Dick Biondi! He was one of the first DJs to play “I Wanna hold Your Hand”.

  22. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 2:00 pm:

    That’s true, although I am sure the Defense would accept her!

    Voir dire and preemptive challenges will be interesting on this trial. I am thinking one third of these jurors will be sympathetic in some way to Rod since the bulk of the jury pool will lean Democratic.

    We insiders followed Rod and this case way more than most people and we have strongly held positions. We would be excluded from the jury. Anyone with a strongly held position on Rod will be excluded, too. So we are basically talking about people living in a cave for the past two years. Of those cave dwellers, I am thinking one third will be sympathetic in some way to Rod since the bulk of the jury pool will lean Democratic.

  23. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 2:22 pm:

    “You guys are all just youngsters”

    Well, would anyone out there remember all the way back to the days of the WLS National Barn Dance… which predated (and inspired) the Grand Ole Opry?

  24. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 2:25 pm:

    Cincy, the feds bat 900. Pete Rose never did that.

    Does anyone have a 20 on Rezko? Last I can find, he was moved out of the MCC last year. He still hasn’t been sentenced.

  25. - wizard - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 2:51 pm:

    I remember Barn Dance (barely) and Biondi (and why he got booted off the air for a while).

  26. - LINK - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 3:00 pm:

    Riley’s Rebel Raiders and Weber’s Commandos along with the weekly Top 40 list they printed and gave out at record stores…

  27. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 3:04 pm:

    Animal Stories from the 1970s were the best.

    Uncle Larry: “…and the house exploded before old Rex made it out.”

    Lil Tommy: “Is Rex going to be OK Uncle Larry?”

    Still makes me laugh.

  28. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 3:09 pm:

    Uncle Larry: “…the truck completely flattened that poor little squirrel…”

    Lil Tommy: “Is the squirrel going to be OK Uncle Larry?”

  29. - girllawyer - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 3:49 pm:

    They are called “peremptory” challenges Cincinnatus. No such thing as “preemptive” challenges.

  30. - Gregor - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 5:45 pm:

    Rham has been subpoenaed by Rod, the news blabber on the radio says.

    I don’t think for a minute this is going to help Rod’s case, I think it is just Rod trying to lash out, and to drag Obama into this thru a tiny knothole.

  31. - Gregor - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 5:46 pm:

    Rich, I hope you’re at the trial every day, for the sake of your eventual Pulitzer-winning book. That’s taking one for the team, for sure.

  32. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 6:22 pm:

    I’ll bring it up again: As far as I can tell, convicted felon Tony Rezko, still not sentenced, is a ghost within the Department of Justice.

    Where he is, what he’s doing and what he’s talking about is a mystery.

  33. - Fed-Up - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 8:01 pm:

    I listened to Don and Roma all the time until WLS began providing Blago an open forum. No more! All of the DJ’s all of you have mentioned from the good old days were great but we loved listening to “Chicken Man” just before school started and no one who ever listed to the station will forget the commercials for the speedway and “Bg Daddy Don Garlitz”!

  34. - Park - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 8:02 pm:

    Word, unless I fell asleep, Rezko’s still awaiting his Bank Fraud trial. Aside from that, don’t know where. He didn’t plead, and is of questionable value as a witness against Blago. Sad to be him.

    Walked over to 218 S. Dearborn at lunch. Security guard inside hadn’t heard if there’d be a TV room for tomorrow, but thought so based on Ryan and Family Secrets trials. Said he though Room 2525.

    Folks, its all really happening, and starts tomorrow. Blago wanted his chance to tell his side of the story. Sounded great to him on the TV shows a year ago, I’m sure. Now’s his chance and he’s tried everything to delay it. Tonight you’ve got a bunch of motivated AUSA’s doing final prep., Adams et al trying to figure out a defense, and Blago sitting and wondering how this all happened to him. Tomorrow he gets due process. In a few days, Judge Zagel will tell the prosecution ‘call your first witness’.

    It’s all great, and funny, and sad. Hopefully also a message to those who were tempted to follow after him.

  35. - Avy Meyers - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 8:40 pm:

    Way to go Rich! About time someone slapped down WLS for putting Blagojevich on. That frequency is unwelcome in my world.

  36. - Gregor - Wednesday, Jun 2, 10 @ 11:37 pm:

    Rod doesn’t need WLS; he already has the special radio station playing things inside his own head.

  37. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:21 am:

    “I am thinking one third of these jurors will be sympathetic in some way to Rod since the bulk of the jury pool will lean Democratic.”

    Didn’t Rod have like a 12 percent approval rating in Illinois BEFORE he was arrested?

    It’s not like he was flying high in the polls presiding over such a fabulous time of prosperity for this state when the indictment and impeachment hit.

  38. - HatShopGirl - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:55 am:

    Clowning at the Corners! Jackson & Dearborn, be there, or be square! Where are Blago’s poker-playing buddies now?

    Rich, or anyone … when is the absolute last second, that Blago can cry “uncle” and save his pretty face by squealing to the Feds? Or will Blago, like the limbless knight in Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, continue to be in denial.

  39. - Way Way Down Here - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 7:53 am:

    Fed Up 8:01

    Where the big ones run run run!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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