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This just in… Feds drop case against Robert Blagojevich - January trial date - Robert rejected offer

Thursday, Aug 26, 2010

* 11:13 am - Sun-Times

Feds drop case against Robert Blagojevich.

More to come.


* 11:17 am -
Chicago News Cooperative

Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said Thursday that the federal prosecutors will not pursue Rod Blagojevich‘s brother in the upcoming retrial due to “disparity of charges.”

Schar said the government will absolutely proceed with the retrial of Rod Blagojevich.

“You’re done,” lawyer Michael Ettinger said to Robert Blagojevich on the phone afterwards. “You’re free.”

Ettinger said Robert responded, “Words can’t decribe it.”

* CBS2

At a hearing Thursday before U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, prosecutors announced they are not planning to proceed with the indictment against Robert Blagojevich, a Nashville businessman.

* Sun-Times

His wife, Julie, cried in the background, according to his lawyer, Michael Ettinger, who said,: “Words can’t describe it.”

Ettinger said Rob Blagojevich screamed when he heard the news by phone.

“He screamed: ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’” Ettinger said. “His wife was hysterical.”

* Tribune

Robert Blagojevich was charged with two counts of extortion conspiracy and one count each of wire fraud and extortion.

* AP

Prosecutors said Thursday they made the decision based on the brother’s less central role in the alleged schemes.

*** 11:37 am *** The Rod Blagojevich retrial won’t start until at least January 4

Federal Judge James Zagel said Thursday that he’ll set a retrial date for early January. Zagel says the trial won’t begin any earlier than Jan. 4. But he didn’t immediately set a specific date.

*** 1:24 pm *** Did the feds offer Robert Blagojevich a deal yesterday? Interesting

[Robert] Blagojevich said that the Feds had come to him yesterday “proposing something we rejected.” He would not elaborate on the discussion.

* Blagojevich news roundup…

* Two Blago Lawyers to Stay On: Rod Blagojevich‘s attorneys Sheldon Sorosky and Aaron Goldstein will stay on the case, according to the lawyer representing the ex-governor’s brother.

* Blago auction included confidential papers: NU

* School: Blago auction boxes contain client files

* Father-son lawyer team pulling out of Blagojevich retrial

* Blagojevich may be Adam-less for retrial

* Blagojevich jury questionnaires destroyed, judge’s clerk says

* Forms Blagojevich jurors filled out destroyed

* The battle of wits redux

* First steps being taken toward Blagojevich retrial

* Blagojevich Hearing: Date for Retrial Could be Scheduled

* Blago may have to live with ‘discount’ defense

- Posted by Rich Miller        

40 Comments
  1. - Tangerine - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:16 am:

    Read that twice, people.

    I stomach hit the floor until further examination.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:16 am:

    A M E N!!!!!!

    To be suckered into helping a brother who was using you nefariously is enough of a humiliation for anyone.

    Plus, when it came down to it, once the “G” saw how good Rob was on the stand and looked credible, the idea of trying Rob again was a lost cause.


  3. - Tangerine - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:16 am:

    *my


  4. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:16 am:

    Smart move by the Government. He was a sympathetic figure who had limited involvement and was a distraction from the case against Rod. Keeps the next jury from focusing on overreaching by the Government and tightens up the case.


  5. - Heartless Libertarian - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:17 am:

    $100 says that the feds only retry Blago on the counts that were 11-1.


  6. - Niles Township - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:18 am:

    Good move.


  7. - Living in Oklahoma - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:18 am:

    Not surprised.


  8. - Whatever - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:18 am:

    Wow.


  9. - Ben Gazzara - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    Seems to me to be the right thing to do. Now do they ratchet things up with Patti?


  10. - Madame Defarge - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:23 am:

    as it should be


  11. - Sewanee - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:24 am:

    The right thing to do, or the easy thing to do?


  12. - Been There - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:25 am:

    A reporter interviewing Robert’s lawyer, Enttinger, asked if Robert could be called to testify against Rod. Enttinger looked surprised at the question but then answered, yes.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:27 am:

    ===The right thing to do, or the easy thing to do?===

    Great question…. my thought … yes and yes!


  14. - Wumpus - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:30 am:

    He should flip on baby bro.


  15. - Robert - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:32 am:

    wise choice by prosection, i agree. and a great job by my namesake positioning himself as sympathetic - in his own way, he was media savvy.


  16. - MKA1985 - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    === He should flip on baby bro.

    What are the odds of THAT happening?


  17. - Concerned Observer - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:37 am:

    Good move by the prosecution. Streamlines the case, and helps tamp down the complaints that a retrial would be too expensive (for what that’s worth).

    No way he flips on his brother. Why? He’s already been cleared.


  18. - Justice - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:45 am:

    Good move and good move. It’s another up day!

    Someone needs to pen the words to a new Christmas carol, “I’ll be squirming for Christmas!”


  19. - Secret Square - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 12:14 pm:

    The retrial will be starting right around the time RRB’s second term as governor would have ended if he’d done things differently.


  20. - D.P. Gumby - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 12:15 pm:

    Feds ARE learning. But so is Blago.


  21. - Behind The Scenes - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 12:20 pm:

    Well, as Raymond Donovan once said, ‘Where does (Robert) go to get his good name back?’, or words to that effect… I suppose the government reimbursing his legal costs is completely out of the question.


  22. - Ghost - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 12:26 pm:

    BTS, the testimony in the recorded conversations and the lies they caught Robert in on the stand show he is guilty. He is just fortunate to be small potatoes. He shouldbe glad they are not pursuing him and not run aroun demenading compensation or recompense. Rob dodged a bullet and should count himself fortunate.


  23. - Wumpus - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 1:17 pm:

    CO, for dragging him into this mess to begin with.


  24. - Anonymous101 - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 1:26 pm:

    Is Rod going refund his brother’s legal bills?

    He should, but he won’t cause he’s BROKE!! If I was Rob I would never so much as speak to my sibling again.


  25. - Liz - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 1:29 pm:

    Here’s a thought. The prosecution will subpoena Rob to testify and grant him immunity.


  26. - Way Way Down Here - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 1:49 pm:

    No comment from Rod? Do you suppose Robert called and said something along the lines of. . .If I so much as hear my name start to leave your lips I’ll come over there and. . . .


  27. - Irishpirate - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 2:20 pm:

    Whatever their reasoning I’m glad the Feds dropped the charges against Rob Blago.

    He was a “indictee” too far


  28. - SpringpatchProud - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 2:22 pm:

    I personally feel Robert Blagojevich was culpable in the conspiracies to extort money for the campaign funds and therefore for Rod in exchange for appointing JJ Jr. But the emotional upheaval and financial loss attributed to his defense for the first federal trial is probably punishment enough and a deterrent to not get involved in illegal scheming again. I think it is fair to consider that “time and punishment served” are enough of a sentence and reason to not try him again. I do not think the federal government is saying they think Robert B. didn’t commit a crime by not trying him a second time … just that they think they don’t have a good shot at a unanimous jury conviction.

    I and everyone else RoD Blago can tell though is clear that RoD has learned nothing from his federal indictment and trial. He obviously has not really learned that he talks too much (like he said in an interview during the trial) based on this week’s appearance on Jon Stewart.

    I hope what he says in public can be held against him in subsequent trials and appeals. He said he would own up to the one count of lying to the federal prosecutors in an interview last week but said all the other counts against him amounted to just politics as usual horse-trading. I am sure the prosecutors in his appeal should take those words as an admission of guilt by Blago on the count of lying to prosecutors.

    RoD Blagojevich has learned zilch and not suffered enough for betraying his oath of office and betrayal to millions of Illinois residents and the corporations and industries he attempted to shake down for campaign contributions. He has shown no remorse for his actions.

    I think Patti’s attempts to portray the homely knitting mother during the trial should not sway any prosecutors away from indicting her for her role in illegally laundering money through her realty company as a direct result of Rezko being shaken down by her husband, RoD. I think the stress on her face shows her real worry about her own fate in the coming years as a result of her complicit involvement in illegal activities.

    There should be no leniency because of the fate of the children. Those children were subjected to the courtroom circus by their mother, PATTI BLAGOJEVICH - this is an indication of her parenting capabilities. Her and Rod’s lack of financial planning, security and priorities indicate a lack of concern for their children. Those kids might just be better off with relatives or foster parents who actually have their best interests at heart.

    Rod and Patti no doubt love their kids but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be prosecuted for their crimes and sent to jail. They don’t rank very high in my estimation as good parents. If Rod spent so much time at home babysitting the kids during his administration then where was Patti as a mother? Wouldn’t you think she would take the opportunity to stay at home with her kids while her husband had the huge responsibility to run one of the three largest states in the most powerful country in the world?

    By all accounts, she was nothing more than a person taking up space during the trial. She seemed uninterested, bored, and knitting. And then she made the egregious error of bringing her children into the courtroom to hear the experts explain what a rotten to the core person their father was. What mother does this to their children (whether they beg and scream to come or not)?

    Please do indict this woman for the federal crimes she committed. Let’s get those kids into the arms of the people that have their best interests at heart.

    Why should she get a free pass? Continue to follow the money as in the first trial and get testimony about what she did or more to the point, DID NOT DO, to deserve that Rezko money.

    Rob has learned his lesson but RoD is still in never-never land playing with the lost boys. And I think Patti is well aware of reality and is afraid for her life, hence the stress and sleeplessness that is clear in her face. She knew enough to drag Rod by the hand out of the crowds after each day of the case to keep him from being the bungling fool he is. Too bad she didn’t have the same forethought, ability and moral character to shepherd him during his governorship to prevent him from committing crimes against the state and people of Illinois. Too bad she allowed herself to be part of the illegal money making schemes.

    Those kids shouldn’t have criminals for day to day parenting and role models. It is very sad that any children have to bear the brunt of their parents’ lack of character but it happens. The best we can do as a society is to counsel kids and provide better living conditions for children of criminals. Letting criminals go unpunished and continuing to subject the kids to sociopath parents (Rod) is not the right answer or in their best interest.

    Re-try Mr. and indict Mrs. Blagojevich for their federal crimes and be “vewy vewy caaaaeful” prosecutors in connecting the dots during the trials.

    Then someone get some help for those children. Their parents cannot be trusted to do what is best for them.


  29. - dupage dan - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 2:28 pm:

    I agree w/Springpatch Proud. Indict Patti.


  30. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 2:39 pm:

    fascinating. what were those votes on the Robert
    charges? some of them in favor of guilty? and he
    gets cut loose because of justice? Dear Feds, you
    made a mistake indicting Robert. He helped Rod
    with testimony. Now you cut him loose? After trying
    to pry something out of him yesterday? Some say
    you look good. I say you look like you are putting
    the squeeze on the family. If I were Rod and Co.,
    I would use that in the nullification tour. Will
    Robert testify against Rod? Would that fulfill
    a promise to their mother? um, no.


  31. - Windy City Mama - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 2:48 pm:

    The Feds are going to focus like a laser on Rod Blagojevich. Rob was background noise and confusing to the jury.Rob has been punished enough.


  32. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 3:18 pm:

    Can Robert Blago petition somewhere to get some of his money back? He’s been tied up for years in his defense. There was no resolution. And now the federales drop it?

    Believe me, I’m pretty sure that Robert knew a little bit of what he was dealing with. But the feds are so strong; they can bring the house, every time.

    That’s why they pick and choose and have a :900 batting average.

    Blago isn’t the poster boy for the threat of the federal police. But you have to admit, the federal police is awfully danm powerful.

    The IRS. The FBI. And you can’t even “lie” to the FBI. That’s a lot of power.


  33. - Lawyer - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 3:22 pm:

    Glad Rob is not being tried again. I doubt he had any intention to commit a crime. He got himself tied up in things he didn’t really understand. He seems decent. Too bad Rod didn’t follow in his older brother’s footsteps.


  34. - jake - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 3:40 pm:

    I always surmised that Robert would not have been charged, or could have pleaded to a very minor charge, if he had agreed to testify against his brother. The big difference between them is that Rob is not a danger to anybody, whereas Rod Blagojevich running around loose really is a hazard.


  35. - Secret Square - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 3:51 pm:

    Already reported elsewhere… the “offer” the feds made to Robert was to retry him separately from his brother after his brother’s retrial was over. I bet he’s glad he didn’t take THAT bait.


  36. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 4:45 pm:

    when do we get Penn grad Alex Blagojevich on
    camera? the google has pix.


  37. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 5:10 pm:

    Rich,

    Have you gone down the original lists of charges, pulling out any Rod conspiracy charges that had the conspiracy as being with Rob and seeing what’s left? Also, have you parsed the list and pulled out the 9-2 and above to convict? I’m just wondering what would be left.

    I figure that anything where the co-conspirator is Rob are no longer valid (can’t have a conspiracy of one). Also, this may point to who will be the people to testify against Rod, and may highlight if additional people will be called to testify.


  38. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 5:56 pm:

    Amalia–just a suggestion: you don’t have to hit “enter” when you get to the end of the comment box on this blog. Please just keep typing without worrying about the margins (they self-adjust), and that way your comments don’t take up as much space—making it easier on your fellow readers. Just sayin’…


  39. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 6:29 pm:

    VQ, thanks. i could do that, or not…..


  40. - Windy City Mama - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 7:44 am:

    Amalia,
    Alex Blagojevich has a facebook page with a photo.
    He is very handsome and a great kid.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
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* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

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