The Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, has issued a statement that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been taken into custody on December 9, 2008 in a press release. The Illinois Governor, a Democrat, has been under investigation on alleged corruption for three years, according to the FBI. The Chicago Tribune broke the stunning news this morning.
The Chicago Tribune broke the news that The Illinois Governor had been taken from his home on the north side of Chicago on Tuesday morning. Patrick Fitzgerald held a press conference on Tuesday morning in regard to the arrest. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Arrested: US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald Makes Press Statement
In the statement by the FBI, Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich (51) and his Chief of Staff, John Harris (46) were arrested by FBI agents on corruption charges. Both Blagojevich and Harris were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. The two-count criminal complaint was sworn out on Sunday and unsealed today. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced that the arrest occurred without incident. Blagojevich and Harris are each expected to appear and the U.S. District Court in Chicago today.
A 76 page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court authorized wiretaps as he conspired to trade or sell the soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate Seat of President-Elect Barack Obama. In exchange for the Senate Seat appointment, Blagojevich discussed ways that he could personally profit from his power to appoint a United States Senate Seat.
FBI press release stated that the following discussions were intercepted on wiretaps:
A substantial salary for himself at either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.
Placing his wife, Patricia Blagojevich, on paid corporate boards. The governor speculated that Mr. Blagojevich might garner as much as $150,000.
Promises of campaign funds – including cash up front, known as pay-for-play.
A cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.
Blagojevich allegedly shook down the Chicago Tribune, demanding that the if the respected news company would not fire editorial writers that the governor disliked that he would block the sale of Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Tribune has been reporting on the federal investigation into the alleged corruption of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his administration for several months.
When Blagojevich was a democratic candidate for governor of Illinois, he promised to overhaul the scandal laden administration of his predecessor, Republican George Ryan. Ryan in prison on is, serving a 6 and a half year sentence for corruption. Ryan has petitioned President Bush for a commutation of his sentence.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, has been reportedly been contemplating a third term as Governor of Illinois in 2010, but the news of the probe has crippled his approval ratings, which have sunk to an all-time low of 13 percent in a recent Chicago Tribune poll. Now officials may be calling for Blagojevich’s resignation.