Impeached Governor’s Rod Blagojevich’s criminal trial started last Thursday. Did you know that?
Has Blago exhausted his 15 minutes of fame? The media has essentially ignored the trial, at least so far in its early stages.
Q: What again is he on trial for?
A: Attempting to sell President Obama’s senate seat to the highest bidder - in short, political corruption, 24 counts of bribery, extortion, and racketeering.
Blago peddled many favors in his 6 years as Illinois Governor.
He’s also on trial for arrogance and/or political stupidity – the two often overlap. Everyone knew he was under investigation for two years by the Justice Department, and hence would be wiretapped. Almost 500 hours of recordings exist. A lot of politicians are on the opposite end of these conversations.
America wants to know what they said.
Blago’s defense attorneys have issued many subpoenas, including to Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, key Obama advisors. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Senators Harry Reid and Richard Durbin have also been on the receiving end of the subpoenas. The federal judge rejected a subpoena for President Obama.
America wants to know what they know.
The major witnesses against Blago are two former chiefs of staff, who have entered into plea bargains with the federal prosecutor. The feds have crimped his defense somewhat by freezing many of the accounts he could have drawn upon to fund his defense.
America won’t totally trust their testimony.
All of this is irrelevant to the real issue.
Was Blago an independent opportunist, or was he simply an extreme example of traditionally corrupt Chicago and Illinois politics?
“Chicago Rules” is rapidly becoming descriptive of the current White House.
The recent revelations from the White House of attempting to get two Senate candidates in Colorado and Pennsylvania to drop their primary challenges to incumbents in exchange for federal jobs has the same taint as Blago’s sales.
A White House aide, Rahm Emanuel’s assistant Jim Messina, also was stupid in emailing a list of three job possibilities to the Colorado candidate, Andrew Romanoff. That eliminates plausible deniability and then necessitates a lawyer’s tortured exculpatory memo.
No Congressional investigation will occur unless the Republicans gain control of either the House or Senate next November, but a few more disclosures and revelations will help them in November, especially in the Illinois Senate and perhaps gubernatorial races.
Much depends on how aggressive a defense Blago intends to mount, and what the trial judge will admit into evidence. Blago has nothing to lose by letting everything hang out. This trial could be a circus.
If so, it could blow up bigger than the BP blowout.
The Administration has much to lose, and little to gain from this trial.