Illinois Governor Blagojevich Arrested

Indictment: Gov tried to sell Obama Senate seat
December 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Barack Obama's former Senate seat was allegedly a pawn in the hands of Illinois's governor. Democrat Rod Blagojevich woke up Tuesday morning with the FBI at his door. The governor's arrest comes after a three year long investigation.

Early Tuesday morning federal agents arrested Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff John Harris at their homes on charges that include conspiring to sell the open Senate seat vacated by President-Elect Barack Obama, and demanding campaign contributions in exchange for official actions.

Blagojevich's arrest is the culmination of a three-year investigation by the feds where the governor's conversations were wiretapped.

In them, he allegedly says quote: "If I don't get what I want and I'm not satisfied with it, then I'll just take the Senate seat myself."

Investigators claim Blagojevich can also be heard negotiating a substantial salary for himself after leaving office; even attempting to secure a possible cabinet post or ambassadorship. When asked about the possibility he'd been wiretapped Monday, Blagojevich told reporters he had nothing to hide. "Ain't nothing but sunshine in my life," said Blagojevich, "I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it."

The Governor's arrest is just the latest incident of political corruption in Illinois. His friend, Fundraiser Tony Rezko, is set to be sentenced on a federal corruption conviction. Blagojevich's predecessor George Ryan is currently serving time in federal prison for 18 counts of steering state business to friends in exchange for bribes.

Investigators said Blagojevich also discussed his feelings of frustration over being quote stuck as Governor. He even discussed a possible run for the White House in 2016.

The U.S. Attorney's Office which investigated Blagojevich held a news conference Tuesday morning regarding his arrest. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called Blagojevich's behavior appalling. "This is a sad day for our government. It's a very sad day for the Illinois government. Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low. Governor Blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree."

Other allegations against Blagojevich include attempting to withhold state funds from the Tribune Company.

Blagovich regarded editorial writers for Tribune's newspaper in Chicago as hostile towards him.


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