The city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the nation at large were captivated by the arrest, trial, and general public embarrassment of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Shortly after Blagojevich's arrest in December 2008, award-winning Chicago Sun-Times federal courts reporter Natasha Korecki began writing "The Blago Blog" to capture the seemingly endless stream of surreal moments, shady political maneuvers, and salty sound bites emanating from the embattled governor, who was accused of trying to sell President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat, among many other acts in what prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald called Blagojevich's "political corruption crime spree."Only in Chicago is derived from the best of Korecki's work on the Blagojevich scandal, weaving together years of reporting as well as never-before published details into one straightforward, fast-paced narrative. From the infamous audio tapes released of Blagojevich to the strange public relations campaign he and his wife, Patti, waged throughout the trial, this is one of the most bizarre true political tales ever told. In many people's minds, there was an unprecedented degree of obliviousness to the part played by the eventually impeached Illinois governor, especially given the explicit and seemingly damning audio evidence released to the public.Korecki's reporting reveals inside information from the arrest, trial, and sentencing. Interviews with Blagojevich, his wife, and countless other sources offer lucid insight to this often baffling, frequently humorous, and occasionally tragic epic. Also embroiled in this scandal were some of the most infamous players in Chicago and Illinois's sordid political scene. But beyond the slew of backroom deal-makers who were sucked into the Blagojevich imbroglio, many Illinois Democratic leaders felt the scandal's toxic fallout seep dangerously near. President Barack Obama himself, while never accused of any wrongdoing, was interviewed by federal prosecutors, and union leader Tom Balanoff claimed Obama called him the day before he was to be elected president, giving him the green light to talk to Blagojevich about Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett's potential appointment to his Senate seat. Only in Chicago includes details about now-mayor Rahm Emanuel's discussions with Blagojevich as well. But the other powerful political figure who became most entangled with the scandal was since-resigned Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is accused of offering Blagojevich $6 million for the Senate seat through an intermediary. The investigation was colored by the revelation that Jackson's mysterious months-long medical leave was due to his reported in-patient treatment at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder.Only in Chicago is filled with incredible details from inside and outside the courtroom. Korecki is the authoritative voice on all things Blagojevich, having followed and reported on the story from its very beginning. Her story is focused and engrossing, and this book will prove to be one of the most important—and entertaining—accounts of this indelible scandal ever written.
The Governor provides the most comprehensive look to date at the life of a twice-elected public official in the notoriously complicated world of Illinois politics. We take a tour through the segregated neighborhoods of Chicago, a city of great ethnic diversity, and see firsthand how those divides can evolve into cabals that rival anything found on the national political scene.We follow the governor as he is awakened early one morning, his young daughter sleeping peacefully beside him, and unceremoniously arrested by FBI agents without knowing the charges being brought against him. We see the harsh glare of the spotlight, the media whirlwind already staking out his home and family, rushing to judgment before even the governor himself knew what crimes he'd been accused of committing. We follow him through the maze of political conspiracies, forces brought to light by the ambition of an attorney general and the greed of her Democratic State Party Chairman father, as well as the zeal of a federal prosecutor and the manipulations of a disloyal lieutenant governor.The behind-the-scenes workings to fill the Senate seat vacated by the most popular President-elect in decades becomes something much more incendiary when wiretapped conversations are used by authorities to commit the arrest. But, as the governor soon learns, those tapes are not allowed to be played at his impeachment hearings in the House or Senate. What is on those tapes? And why will the prosecution not let them be heard if they were the primary factor in initiating the arrest that started this political scandal in the first place?Quoting from sources as diverse as Jim Wallis's God's Politics to Aeschylus, Shakespeare to The Purpose Driven Life, The Governor provides not just an inside look at politics on a state and national level but a treatise on the proper place of government in the everyday lives of its people.It is a mandate for healthcare reform, which the governor feels is the civil rights issue of our lifetime. It is a clarion cry, remarkably, against cynicism in modern governing and a return to a more thoughtful and informed sense of government that views its state budgets as moral documents. It is a lament against the current state of the political landscape, one that too often is wracked by scandal and interwoven with a media-driven culture obsessed with scandal and snap judgments.And it is a proclamation that one man will not be silenced, that his side of the story must be heard and that the fight for American liberties and freedom must sometimes occur within its own borders.
A Just Cause: The Impeachment and Removal of Governor Rod Blagojevich
During the predawn hours of December 9, 2008, an FBI team swarmed the home of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and took him away in handcuffs. The shocking arrest, based on allegations of corruption and extortion, launched a chain of political events never before seen in Illinois. In A Just Cause, Bernard H. Sieracki delivers a dynamic firsthand account of this eight-week political crisis, beginning with Blagojevich’s arrest, continuing through his impeachment and trial, and culminating in his conviction and removal from office. Drawing on his own eyewitness observations of the hearings and trial, the comments of interviewees, trial transcripts, and knowledge gained from decades of work with the Illinois legislature, Sieracki tells the compelling story of the first impeachment and removal from office of an Illinois governor, while providing a close look at the people involved.A Just Cause depicts Blagojevich as a master of political gamesmanship, a circus ringmaster driven by personal ambition and obsessed with private gain. Sieracki examines in depth the governor’s unethical behavior while in office, detailing a litany of partisan and personal hostilities that spanned years. He thoroughly covers the events leading to Blagojevich’s downfall and the reactions of the governor’s cohorts. The author discusses the numerous allegations against Blagojevich, including attempts to “sell” appointments, jobs, and contracts in exchange for financial contributions. Sieracki then exhaustively recounts Blagojevich’s senate trial and the governor’s removal from office. This engrossing volume is both a richly detailed case study of the American checks-and-balances system and an eyewitness account of unprecedented events. It will appeal to anyone interested in the stunning, true tale of a state upholding the maxim “The welfare of the people is the supreme law.”
Pay to Play: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow
Weeks after President Barack Obama's remarkable victory, the nation was shocked to learn that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had been arrested at his home by the FBI. There are allegations that Blago had tried to sell Obama's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat for cash. This effort appeared to be only the latest in a cascade of corruption that prompted U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to charge the governor with actions that would make Lincoln roll over in his grave. In Pay to Play, Elizabeth Brackett, award-winning correspondent in the political realm for PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, uncovers new details as she goes behind the story of the first governor to be impeached by the Illinois legislature. All the time tracing the background of corruption in Illinois politics and its implications for state government executive branches across the country, she tells precisely how Blagojevich's personal biography and his political upbringing paved the way for his reckless fall; what the dilemma of selecting replacement senators means for other states; what secrets the federal trial of the governor is likely to produce; why Roland Burris was selected for the U.S. Senate seat for Illinois; and how a man named Obama could emerge with integrity from the swill of this same political environment.
Golden: How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself out of the Governor's Office and into Prison
No one did political corruption quite like Rod Blagojevich. The 40th governor of Illinois made international headlines in 2008 when he was roused from his bed and arrested by the FBI at his Chicago home. He was accused of running the state government as a criminal racket and, most shockingly, caught on tape trying to barter away President-elect Barack Obama’s US Senate seat. Most politicians would hunker down, stay quiet, and fight the federal case against them. But as he had done for years, Rod Blagojevich proved he was no ordinary politician. Instead, he fueled the headlines, proclaiming his innocence on seemingly every national talk show and street corner he could find. Revealing evidence from the investigation never before made public, Golden is the most complete telling yet of the Blagojevich story, written by two Chicago reporters who covered every step of his rise and fall and spent years sifting through evidence, compiling documents, and conducting more than a hundred interviews with those who have known Blagojevich from his childhood to his time in the governor’s office. Dispensing with sensationalism to present the facts about one of the nation’s most notorious politicians, the authors detail the mechanics of the corruption that brought the governor down and profile a fascinating and frustrating character who embodies much of what is wrong with modern politics. With Blagojevich now serving 14 years in prison, the time has come for the last word on who Blagojevich was, how he was elected, how he got himself into trouble, and how the feds took him down.
Only in Chicago: How the Rod Blagojevich Scandal Engulfed Illinois; Embroiled Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, and Jesse Jackson, Jr.; and Enthralled the Nation
"As the circus of the Blagojevich saga unfolded, Natasha Korecki was right at the center.... It was a seriocomedy suited to her enterprise and imagination, and she’s the one to write the book." Roger Ebert"Natasha Korecki's chronicle of the Blagojevich saga was a cutting-edge lesson in how to blend old-fashioned reporting with new media." Richard RoeperChicago, Illinois, and America at large were captivated by the arrest, trial, and general public embarrassment of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Only in Chicago is derived from the best of award-winning Chicago Sun-Times reporter Natasha Korecki's work on the Blagojevich scandal, weaving together years of reporting and never-before published details into one straightforward, fast-paced narrative. From the infamous audiotapes to Blagojevich's strange public relations campaign, this is one of the most bizarre true political tales ever told.Beyond the slew of backroom dealmakers who were sucked into the Blagojevich imbroglio, President Barack Obama himself--while never accused of any wrongdoing--was also interviewed by federal prosecutors. Now-mayor Rahm Emanuel's discussions with Blagojevich are included as well. The political figure who became most entangled with the scandal, however, was Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is accused of offering Blagojevich $6 million for Obama's vacated Senate seat through an intermediary.
BLAGO by PHOTO: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's Last Press Conference on His Last Night at Home14 March 2012
"Among the lessons is, you’ve gotta put faith over fear, you gotta be willing to go through fire when you believe in something. I’ve come to see the object of life is to do God’s will. So I’m putting my trust in God and whatever his plan is for me.”
Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich And His Chief Of Staff John Harris Arrested: Blagojevich And Harris Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Mail & Wire Fraud, Solicitation Of Bribery
A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois' U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining: * A substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions; * Placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year; * Promises of campaign funds - including cash up front; and * A cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.
Golden How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself out of the Governors Office and into Prison by Coen, Jeff, Chase, John [Chicago Review Press,2012] (Hardcover)
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