Blagojevich Pleads No to Corruption

Thursday, 11 Feb 2010 10:27 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
CHICAGO - Ousted Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich pleaded not guilty Wednesday to revised federal corruption charges and challenged prosecutors to allow jurors to hear all of the FBI's recordings of his telephone conversations.

Sounding unusually combative after the brief hearing, Mr. Blagojevich told reporters he would not ask Judge James B. Zagel to prevent jurors from hearing FBI wiretaps in which prosecutors say he schemed to sell or trade President Obama's former Senate seat.

"Let me cut right to the chase, today I'm laying down the gauntlet," Mr. Blagojevich said. "I'm not going to hide behind my lawyers, nor will I hide behind technicalities in the law to try to block these tapes from being heard."

But he challenged the government to play all of the roughly 500 hours of recordings.

"I'm not just going to talk the talk, I'm going to walk the walk," he said. "Play the tapes, play all the tapes."

His attorneys, in court papers filed Wednesday, wrote that a full airing of the recordings will establish Mr. Blagojevich's innocence.

Judge Zagel will ultimately decide how much of the recordings can be presented at the trial, which is slated to start June 3.

Mr. Blagojevich, in a book published last year, said he had hoped to appoint Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the Senate seat as part of a deal with her father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The attorney general has said she knew nothing about such a plan, and Steve Brown, a spokesman for her father, after the book's release called Mr. Blagojevich "a very troubled and very confused person."

Mr. Blagojevich also said that he would take the witness stand in his own defense at the trial.

Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said he would have no comment about Mr. Blagojevich's remarks in the courthouse lobby.

The actual hearing lasted only a few minutes.

"We are going to waive reading of the indictment and enter a plea of innocent to each and every charge," Mr. Blagojevich told Judge Zagel.

"The record will reflect that he pleaded not guilty," Judge Zagel said. Under the law, not guilty is the correct way to state the plea and innocent is incorrect.

"You know why he entered a plea of innocent because he is innocent," defense attorney Samuel E. Adam told reporters afterward. "And the tapes will prove that."

Judge Zagel gave the defense attorneys about a month to file any motions aimed at postponing the trial's scheduled June 3 start. He said he didn't see anything in the newly minted indictment that would cause such a delay.

Mr. Blagojevich is charged with scheming with his aides and advisers in search of a way to get a lucrative job or cash in exchange for the Senate seat. He also is charged with pressuring potential campaign contributors, such as a racetrack owner and a hospital executive, for hefty donations in exchange for favors.

The newly revised indictment against Mr. Blagojevich is similar in most respects to the old one. It doesn't allege any misconduct on the impeached former governor's part that was not contained in the previous version.

But prosecutors have been concerned about the previous indictment because many of the charges are based on a federal law that makes it illegal for public officials to deprive the taxpayers of their "intangible right to honest services." Critics say that the so-called honest services fraud law is vague.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

'Conservative War Chest' Targets Pryor, Gang of 5

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 21:52 PM

A conservative Super PAC has launched its 2014 campaign with a blistering ad accusing Senator Mark Pryor of being a sta . . .

Connecticut Republicans Sense Sweep In Works

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 21:44 PM

Republicans in the Nutmeg State feel "cautiously optimistic" that they will not only take the governorship that narrowly . . .

Unions Pouring Money into Democrats' Nov. Warchest

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 20:23 PM

Fearing Republican control of both the House and the Senate after the November midterm elections, labor unions are pouri . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved