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“La-La Land”

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* Rod Blagojevich’s brother Rob has a new book coming out

The publisher gave The Associated Press an advance copy of the book, which is titled “Fundraiser A” and set for an April release. Robert, a Republican, agreed to work as chief fundraiser for his brother, a Democrat, in mid-2008 after accepting Rod’s assurances — naively, he writes — that he wasn’t under investigation. An initial complaint unsealed after the then-governor’s arrest on Dec. 9, 2008, referred to Robert only as “Fundraiser A.”

Before the brothers’ joint 2010 trial, lead prosecutor Reid Schar proposed that if Robert talked Rod into a guilty plea, charges against the elder brother could be reduced or dismissed, the book says. Regarding the odds of convictions, the book says Schar told Robert’s lawyer, “We’ve got the governor, but your guy can win this.”

“Why did they indict me in the first place if they thought I could win?” Robert asked his attorney, Michael Ettinger, in rejecting the proposal. “I was never going to ask Rod to plead guilty to save me from prosecution.” […]

Robert paints his sibling as sometimes delusional and persistently unapologetic about entangling his year-older brother in a legal nightmare. The title of one chapter, “La-La Land,” is Robert’s commentary on the world Rod inhabited.

This may be the first Blagojevich book that I’m looking forward to reading.

* Some excerpts

— The book blasts then-U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for telling reporters on the day of the then-governor’s arrest that the feds had stopped a “corruption crime spree” that would “make Lincoln roll over in his grave.” Writes Robert Blagojevich, “As far as I was concerned, any idea of the presumption of innocence I should have had was long lost before the trial began — starting with Fitzgerald’s comment.”

— Robert saw his brother at their 2009 arraignment and became annoyed that he made no effort to express regret about the legal morass his big brother found himself in. Regarding the meeting, Robert writes: “You expect that he’ll apologize for dragging you into this mess. … Instead, he leans over the table and says, ‘You don’t look like a criminal to me.’ You don’t smile or laugh. This day is not a joke. You look at him without emotion and say, ‘You look like you need a haircut.’”

— To illustrate the tension between them, Robert recounts how Rod once walked over during a court recess at their joint 2010 trial to say Robert was “coming off clean so far.” Robert snapped back angrily: “Of course I should come off clean. I am clean. … This has nothing to do with me.”

* And

Rod Blagojevich’s brother, Robert, says in a new book his relationship with his sibling has been so strained that the ex-governor even refused to see him when he traveled to Colorado to visit him in prison. […]

Robert traveled from Tennessee to the prison where Rod’s serving a 14-year sentence in 2012. He writes their relationship remains “completely broken.”


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - South of Sherman - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:23 am:

    Oh, please. Lots of us who weren’t nearly as close to the inner circle as Rob was had suspicions about Blago by mid-2008. But Rob — who was in on the phone calls and the arm-twisting — didn’t have any clue what was going on?

    You’ll forgive me if I don’t shed too many tears over the high cost that Rob incurred for doing a lousy job of being his brother’s keeper.

  2. - ??? - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    Yawn. I can’t imagine this book will sell more than 50 copies, if that. Rod’s own book didn’t do that well, and with so much time having passed since the indictment, I can’t believe there would be too much interest.

  3. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    What South said. He didn’t know what his brother was all about?

  4. - MrJM - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    I might get this from the library just to read how Rob first learned that there was gambling in Rod’s Casablanca.

    – MrJM

  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    I believe that this book will be definitely worth a read. Anybody who knows Rob knows that he is an honorable man. He is a far different person than rod. While rob may have been on many calls with rod, he was never part of the inner circle when it came to fundraising strategy. Rob was never as informed on these matters as Lon Monk or Chris Kelly. In fact as rods circle shrank, Rob was more of a scheduler and/or collector for rod. He wasn’t out pursuing new fundraising leads. He was playing cards he was dealt. He was never part of any plot to shakedown donors, or to leverage government action in exchange for campaign contributions. Since rob would never participate in such discussions, he was never included in such discussions. Rod obviously didn’t want a detractor detracting from his inner circle strategy. Again, by the end, that circle was extremely small. The real question is when will john wyma write his book? He was in on everything, yet got off in everything. This is the guy with all of the answers. Wyma should be in jail.

  6. - Anonymoiis - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    ==Anon @ 10:34==

    Happy Festivus, Rob!

  7. - Amalia - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    not the only voice that thinks Fitzgerald took his comments too far. plenty of lawyers I know raised eyebrows at the Lincoln rolling over comment.

  8. - Under Further Review - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    In Rod’s mind, Rob should have fallen on his sword and taken the rap for his brother the statesman. So really, to Rod’s way of thinking, it is all Rob’s fault.

    I have often wondered if the prosecutors did not pass on sending Patti to prison too. Her real estate firm received some regular checks from Tony Rezko for doing next to nothing.

  9. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    My grandmother used to say that every pot has a lid.

    It’s perfect how well Rod and Patti fit. A sociopath and his enabler. Delusional until the end with no responsibility gene between them. Together, they destroyed three families.

    While I doubt Rob was in on the graft, he could not have been so clueless to be unable to read nor fail to understand the fatal flaws of his brother’s character.

  10. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    So, he still blames Rod for duping him and still maintains he’s clean? He wants us to believe he’s that stupid?

  11. - Boring! - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    “Fundraiser A” destined for the bargin books section at Barnes & Noble by March 2015. Rob got caught with hand partially in the till. Lets all throw a pity party for the Blagojevichs.

  12. - A guy... - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    I’m looking forward to reading this too. I think he thought he could help his brother, and I seem to remember reading that the parents even begged him to help him.

    For all you tough love dudes; I’m glad we’re not brothers. I think this guy tried hard to help, and the government overreached plenty. Because Rod is such an unsympathetic character, there was less outrage over the overreaching.

    If you don’t feel bad for Rod (not a soul should!) there are plenty of other lives ruined with the government prosecutor surgeons taking very large margins and ruining lives that shouldn’t have been. From my reading to date, Rob should have never been charged.
    I’m definitely looking forward to reading this book.

  13. - x ace - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    “My Brother the Krook”

    could be bigger than

    “My Mother the Car”

  14. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    In the past, this blog has seen some comments that attempt to portray Patrick Fitzgerald, warts and all. Curious if there are other such nuggets about the US Attorney’s Office in the book.

  15. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    Why do people write these books? Who buys these books?

    They end up in some Costco cardboard bargain bin or a bottom shelf in a deserted, crappy K-Mart.

    Sure, we might want excerpts because we want to crane our necks and see the accident — but the era of these kinds of “I’m a D-list politico and here’s my difficult life” books is over. Not sure it even started.

    Get ready to pay back most of that advance.

  16. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    Wesnicia, I’m sorry but you have no clue what you’re talking about. You are clearly a very cynical person. I can only imagine how excited people are when seated next to you at a long dinner engagement. If you don’t believe Rob when he says he’s clean, do you believe the jury? Do you believe the government when it chose not to retry his case? Lighten up, Frances.

  17. - The Colossus of Roads - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    Just like Cain and Abel, siblings don’t always get along, but the choices they make, good or bad, live with them the rest of their lives.

  18. - Newsclown - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    Two reasons people write books like this:

    A: They need money. Rob has court bills to pay.

    B: the concept that people only remember the last argument in a chain of arguments or statements of fact, so this is another attempt to re-write the history of the event in a way that improves perceptions of Rod. That was straight out of Rod’s daily earned media playbook: to out-shout the questions and the facts and leave behind the lasting impression HE wanted to leave.

  19. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    I have siblings and close first cousins in state politics, (other states, not Illinois), so I cringe whenever Google sends me any news they appear in.

    Even when they win big, I’m still uncomfortable and nervous for them. I can handle the critics that go off on a tangent over something they said and did, but I do not trust their inner circle fundraisers or handlers.

    So if one of them becomes governor of their state, I will be a wreck.

  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    So much for “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”. Some heavy lifting here.

  21. - x-pol - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    Rob, you should file a complaint against Fitzgerald with the Illinois Attorney Disciplinary Agency. I am disappointed the defense bar did not. “Lincoln rolling over in his grave” was over the top, and “Mr. Clean” ought to be held accountable. Unfortunately the dislike of Rod was so strong, this unethical act went unchallenged. Now that the dust has settled, the prosecutor should be investigated and disciplined accordingly.

  22. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    Not specific to this situation, but with the feds if the choice is between “stupid” and “complicit”, always choose “stupid”

  23. - Because I said so.... - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    @LincolnLounger = Together, they destroyed three families.=
    Unfortunately, it cuts WAY deeper than that.

  24. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Guy, the parents passed years before Rod ever ran for governor.

  25. - A guy... - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    ===Wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Guy, the parents passed years before Rod ever ran for governor.===

    Sling, I’m not sure when his parents passed. But I do appreciate the answer to the question that was never asked.
    I know you see some relevance here. I’m not sure I do. His parents (while alive) seemed to understand Rod’s unbridled ambition. I recall seeing or reading that “Rob” was asked to help. When? Not sure it matters.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    ===I’m looking forward to reading this too. I think he thought he could help his brother, and I seem to remember reading that the parents even begged him to help him.===

    How do we know what the parents woukd have said during all this.

    Do you?

  27. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Guy, just adding a fact and some reality to one of your stories.

    Both parents had been gone many years by the time Robert hooked up with Rod in 2008.

  28. - Emily Booth - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    Rod Blagoyevich damaged state government for years to come. His wild spending, his corruption of the hiring process, the perversion of the merit comp/bargaining unit system…most tax payers have no idea. I would read Rob’s book about his younger brother.

  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    And the smart money says the U.S. Court of Appeals will soon reverse Rod’s sentence and some of the counts. They will rip the prosecutors for overreaching. He will be re sentenced to far less time. So stop worshipping these prosecutors.

  30. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    “Unfortunately the dislike of Rod was so strong, this unethical act went unchallenged.”

    Amen! The Illinois Appellate Judge who wrote the opinion of the court saying Governor Blagojevich’s Office had to release the Federal subpoena to comply with State of Illinois FOIA statute, which Fitzgerald’s office opposed, had, at a minimum, the appearance of the conflict of interest. Talk of him being reported to the Judicial Inquiry Board was met with a general “But it was Blagojevich - who cares!”

  31. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    Not a Blago fan from before when it was cool to hate Blago.

    Judge Zagel repeatedly showed his bias against Blago. His behavior was disgraceful. Although, it did sometimes seems Blago & his legal team were trying to provoke Zagel.

    But, Rob, prosecutors aren’t supposed to presume innocence when they announce an indictment.

    “My office has indicted Subject A for crimes X, Y & Z. Subject A may be the completely wrong person. In fact, crimes X, Y & Z, may not of even happened. And no one should make an inferences about Subject A or even assume that any of the indictment is true until after the criminal trial.”

    That ain’t how anyone else’s indictment is announced.

  32. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    ==Judge Zagel repeatedly showed his bias against Blago.==

    I think it was his lawyers that the judge had problems with. He had very little patience for their antics.

  33. - 5th Generation Chicagoan - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    From what I recall, Rob and Rod were not close for a long time, and their mother, on her deathbed, asked Rob to look out for his brother for her sake. And I believe Rob positioned it as such in court.

  34. - Black Ivy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    I remain deeply saddened by the deterioration of the Blagojevich brothers’ familial schism. I understand it, but am unhappy nonetheless. Hopefully, a reconciliation will occur as Rod’s life will extend beyond his failed gubernatorial actions in the end…

  35. - A guy... - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    === 5th Generation Chicagoan - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    From what I recall, Rob and Rod were not close for a long time, and their mother, on her deathbed, asked Rob to look out for his brother for her sake. And I believe Rob positioned it as such in court.====

    Sling, 5G read and has a recollection similar to mine in terms of something Rob may have in fact stated. I’ll read the book. If there’s any reference to this, I’ll share it with you.

    Leave it here. Rod’s parents were worried about him. So were his in-laws for that matter. Why is it even a little difficult for you to believe the brother may have felt an obligation to help?

  36. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    Guy, a brother feeling an obligation to help and a made-up story, by you, about long-dead parents “begging” him to run the campaign fund are quite different.

  37. - MrJM - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    FYI: I’d punch a puppy in the mouth for the opportunity to sit next to Wensicia at a long dinner engagement.

    – MrJM

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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