The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Illinois

November 14, 2013

Prosecutors respond to Blagojevich appeal

CHICAGO — Prosecutors have responded to Rod Blagojevich’s appeal of his corruption conviction, challenging the notion that the behavior that landed the disgraced former Illinois governor behind bars was run-of-the-mill political horse-trading.

Government attorneys rebutted that and other claims in an unusually lengthy, 169-page filing before a midnight deadline Tuesday. It’s a reply to the Democrat’s July appeal with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Jurors convicted Blagojevich on 18 counts, including for trying to profit from his power to name someone to the Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated to become president. Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison term in Colorado as Inmate No. 40892-424.

In their 100-page appeal, defense attorneys claim Blagojevich engaged in a legal “political horse-trade” when he floated the idea of a Cabinet seat or ambassadorship for himself if he appointed Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett to the seat. Neither Obama nor Jarrett have ever been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.

In their response, prosecutors balk at the idea that what Blagojevich did was commonplace.

“This is an extraordinary claim,” the government filing says. “No matter the price he charges, a public official who sells his office engages in crime, not politics.”

Blagojevich’s appeal seeks a new trial or at least a reduction in what his attorneys describe as an excessive, disproportionate sentence. They allege a litany of errors and a lack of evenhandedness by the trial judge, U.S. District Judge James Zagel.

One of Zagel’s errors, the defense argued in their filing, was to allow a biased juror to sit on the panel during Blagojevich’s second, decisive trial. Their appeal only referred to him as Juror No. 174, noting that he said about Blagojevich during jury selection that, “I just figured him, possibly, to be guilty.”

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Illinois
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    The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.

    The memo dated Friday, which The Associated Press obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says the state auditor compared clients enrolled in the Medicaid database last June with state death records dating back to 1970. Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.

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  • Ill. GOP officials who wanted Brady out replaced

    A crop of Republican officials who wanted to oust former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady for his statements supporting same-sex marriage have been replaced in their party positions.

    Illinois Republicans across the state held elections for all 18 state central committee member posts this week, replacing six of the seven officials who signed on to a letter last year to hold a vote on removing Brady as chairman. The seventh person to sign the letter, Mark Shaw of the 10th Congressional District, was re-elected to a four-year term.

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    A federal campaign account for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now empty, two years into the Chicago Democrat's prison term.

    The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports Friends of Rod Blagojevich donated $709.85 to a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery earlier this month.

    April 18, 2014

  • GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library

    A Republican lawmaker is protesting after an Illinois House committee recorded a 9-0 vote to commit $100 million for President Barack Obama's library and museum, even though the committee's four GOP members weren't there.

    Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein says he didn't expect a vote during Thursday's hearing. He told WBEZ radio and the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald he would've voted no.

    Sullivan says "the legacy of the Obama presidential library shouldn't be kicked off in a cloud of controversy."

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    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

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    A Taylorville couple has celebrated winning a more than $20 million Illinois Lottery drawing.

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    April 17, 2014

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    As Yoda might say: A site for a museum you must find.

    Those are the marching orders Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving a dozen civic leaders as the city searches for a potential location for an interactive museum to house filmmaker George Lucas' collection of art and filmmaking memorabilia.

    April 17, 2014

  • Illinois unemployment drops to 5-year-low

    State officials say unemployment in Illinois dropped in March to 8.4 percent. That's its lowest level since 2009.

    April 17, 2014

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