Blago, brother, and other aides indicted



A federal grand jury today has lodged sweeping corruption charges against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, his brother, Robert, two former top aides, as well as a prominent Downstate businessman.

The 19-count indictment charges that corruption started under the former governor’s reign almost as soon as he was elected office in 2002.

Blagojevich himself was charged in 16 felony counts including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and making false statements.

Also charged as co-defendants were Alonzo Monk, Blagojevich’s former chief of staff; John Harris, his most recent chief of staff who is expected to be a witness in the case; chief Blagojevich fundraiser Christopher G. Kelly; and Springfield powerbroker William F. Cellini.

The 75-page indictment makes numerous references to the former governor’s wife, Patti Blagojevich, who got thousands of dollars from Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko, who was convicted on public corruption charges last year. She has not, however, been charged with any crimes.

“I’m saddened and hurt but I am not surprised by the indictment,” former Gov. Blagojevich said in a statement. “I am innocent. I now will fight in the courts to clear my name. I would ask the good people of Illinois to wait for the trial and afford me the presumption of innocence that they would give to all their friends and neighbors.”

You can read the full indictment here. Ed’s got many more links related to BlagoGate.

Obama’s probably glad that this news is breaking during his overseas trip where the British press appears to be too busy fawning over the The One and the Mrs to notice much of anything else.

Come to think of it, they probably feel right at home.

Headline of the day


From Fox News: White House Corrects Conference Call Number After Directing Reporters to Sex Line. The story:

Journalists seeking to talk a little foreign policy with high-profile Obama administration officials live from the G20 meetings in London this week were solicited for phone sex instead after ringing up the toll-free number given by the White House.

In a press release, the White House accidentally listed a sex line number for journalists seeking an “on-the-record briefing call with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Jim Jones to discuss the NATO summit.”

But after dialing, a soft-voiced female recording that was clearly not Clinton asked for a credit card number if you “feel like getting nasty.”

After several efforts to make sure that the phone number was correctly dialed, a call to the White House resulted in a corrected press release. “If you are having trouble dialing into the call, please try this number as an alternative,” and listed the international line included for reporters abroad to dial.

LOL! I bet the looks on the faces of those who called the number thinking they were going to get Clinton and Jones were priceless. The callers were probably all frantically looking around for their reset button.

On the other hand, had this been a conference call number that was supposed to be a briefing with the President himself, it wouldn’t have been out of the realm of possiblity for the reporters calling in to be close to orgasmic. Don’t forget – it’s happened before