as, for example, the point at which politicking becomes a crime.
Blagojevich's lawyers used an appeals hearing last week to once
again argue the twice-elected governor was guilty of little more
than political horse-trading, some five years after he was arrested
in a scheme to sell Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.
|JUST TALKIN': Blagojevich has
always said he was just talking about politics, not committing a
"There was a requirement that (Blagojevich) knows he is doing
something wrong," Blagojevich lawyer Leornard Goodman told the
appellate court hearing the former governor's case last week. "A
political appointment has never been prosecuted as a crime."
Blagojevich was caught on tape talking about how to land either a
new job or a get a campaign contribution in exchange for naming
someone to then-President Elect Obama's Senate seat.
"It does not seem like a slam-dunk for the government," Natasha Korecki a journalist and author of the book
"Only in Chicago," which
chronicles Blagojevich's trial. "It's clear (the appellate court)
had some very fundamental questions about the Senate seat aspect of this."
The judges quizzed Blagojevich's lawyers about former Supreme Court
Justice Earl Warren, then governor of California, promising to
deliver the state for Dwight Eisenhower. Warren asked for, and later
got, a seat on the high court in exchange.
But Blagojevich was not "just talking" or "horse-trading," says
University of Illinois at Springfield professor Kent Redfield.
"People exchange favors and incur obligations. That's normal give-and-take, but usually it involves doing something in relation to an
election or constituents," Redfield told Illinois Watchdog. "When it
gets to be about private gain, then you have crossed the line."
[to top of second column]
Redfield said there is no doubt Blagojevich overstepped his bounds.
The former governor was heard on tape urging his brother to tread
carefully about a political request, and the Illinois State Police
said Blagojevich asked them to once sweep his office for bugs.
Redfield said those are not the actions of someone who is simply
"There is some gray in this case. But Blagojevich knew that he was
engaging in activity that was illegal, or questionable, in terms of
the legality," Redfield said.
"There is nothing redeeming about Blagojevich.He would have gone
down as a huge failure even if he had not been arrested or
impeached, because of the Illinois' (disastrous) finances and the
state of state government."
|BANNED: Illinois passed a law
to make sure public dollars were never used for a Blagojevich
portrait to hang in the Statehouse.
Contact Benjamin Yount at
Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org and find him
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