Blagojevich Trial Blogs
John Harris, Gov. Rod Blagojevich's former chief of staff, will report to McHenry County jail on May 22 to carry out his 10-day sentence his lawyer said today.
Terry Ekl, Harris' attorney, said the U.S. Bureau of Prisons designated Harris there. Federal inmates sometimes serve out shorter sentences at county jails, Ekl said.
Harris was a key witness in Blagojevich's trial and his retrial.
Patti Blagojevich expressed anger after Harris was sentenced asking what was wrong with the world that sent her husband away for 14 years but saw his underling get just 10 days.
Harris cooperated from the day of his arrest -- the same day Blagjoevich was arrested.
Patti Blagojevich and daughters spend Mother's Day weekend visiting "one of the saddest places on earth."
Patti Blagojevich visited former Governor Rod Blagojevich in Colorado prison over the weekend, calling it "one of the saddest places on earth."
"We spent the weekend in Denver visiting Rod," Patti Blagojevich posted on her Facebook page. "He was so happy to see ... us and we were so happy to see him. That visiting room has to be one of the saddest places on earth though. All those little kids visiting their dads. It breaks your heart."
Rod Blagojevich is serving out a 14-year sentence at FCI Englewood Prison in Littleton, Colo.
Recently, his former lawyers, Sam Adam and Sam Adam Jr. visited the former governor, and reported that he looked tan and had put on at least five pounds of weight from working out.
Patti Blagojevich's Facebook posting got more than 300 "likes" and more than 100 comments.
Said one well-wisher: "(Ultimately), it doesn't matter where you all got together, you were together. That is what matters!"
"The heartbreaking thing really is that the kids have to see their dads in a place like that. Just saying."
Rod Blagojevich was convicted of 18 federal corruption charges, including attempting to sell President Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.
Sporting a tan, lighter (but not gray) hair and five pounds more muscle, prison hasn't been too cruel to Rod Blagojevich, his onetime lawyer says.
Of course, Blagojevich just began his 14-year sentence about a month ago.
Blagojevich has a cell mate and they're getting along.
For now, the former governor is washing dishes in the kitchen but he's hoping that'll change by the summer.
For the first 90 days, prison inmates must do menial jobs, his onetime lawyer, Sam Adam Jr. says.
"After 90 days he's hoping for a job in the library, teaching Shakespeare and or Greek Mythology," attorney Sam Adam Jr. says.
Sam Adam Jr. and his father, Sam Adam, both visited the former governor on Sunday in his prison outside of Denver. Adam Jr. said he, his father and his son took a train ride across the country to visit the former client.
Their visit followed a visit by Patti and their two daughters about two weeks ago.
Blagojevich's hair is "not at all" gray, Sam Adam Jr. says. "It's brown. Who knew?"
The former governor has put on five to 10-pounds of muscle, from working out behind bars, Adam says.
And he hasn't had to give up his love for running.
He's running four to five days a week for four to five miles.
Blagojevich wasn't mad about his chief of staff John Harris' 10-day sentence.
Though he apologized for his acts during his December sentencing, Blagojevich yesterday said neither he nor Harris did anything wrong, according to Adam.
Blagojevich's mini-celebrity status hasn't worn out in prison. "He is the mayor," Adam said. "He knows everybody's name. He's politicking there."
Blagojevich was convicted last June on 17 of 20 counts of corruption, including attempting to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.
Fox's Larry Yellen first reported the update from Colorado: watch video here.
The longtime federal witness whose testimony has brought down some of the biggest names in Illinois, is finally scheduled to be sentenced.
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve on Tuesday set a June 28 sentencing date for Stuart Levine, who testified in the trials of political fixer Tony Rezko and Downstate powerbroker William Cellini. Both Rezko and Cellini were convicted at their trials.
She also scheduled a Sept. 7 sentencing date for Steve Loren, the onetime attorney for the Teachers Retirement System who has also pleaded guilty and testified for the government.
Levine once sat on two state boards. He is an admitted drug user and serial conman who from the witness stand told of a lifetime of scams and swindles including paying out bribes and extorting others who were seeking state work.
Levine had worked out a deal with prosecutors to serve about five and a half years behind bars. It's a deal that defense lawyers have criticized for years, arguing that Levine will see less prison time even though he pocketed actual money.
Prosecutors though say Levine's cooperation was invaluable.
At Rod Blagojevich's December sentencing Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar called Levine one of the most significant cooperators the Dirksen Federal Courthouse had ever seen.
The ultimate decision on Levine's sentence will be up to St. Eve, who asked prosecutors this morning to include in filings the extent of Levine's cooperation.
Rezko's trial was before St. Eve. Last year, she sentenced him to 10 ½ years behind bars.
Read Sun-Times piece on Levine from last October: How conman took down top politicos in Illinois
It may be at least 10 years before Rod Blagojevich is back home for dinner.
What was the last meal he requested before leaving for prison?
A spaghetti dinner.
Patti cooked the spaghetti dinner using Blagojevich's late mother's recipe. "I'm going to eat so much spaghetti I won't need breakfast," he said after giving a statement on live TV.
In his address, he spoke of how it pained him to not be around to help his wife raise their two girls, Amy and Annie.
For his youngest, Annie, Blagojevich left as a memento two dolls that have the capability to play back recorded messages.
According to someone close to the family, one of the dolls plays back Rod Blagojevich's voice, which says: "Hi Annie, Daddy loves you."
Rod Blagojevich's public address today, the day before he goes to prison, will be an "extraordinary" heartfelt farewell of sorts to Illinois residents.
It is no accident that the former governor scheduled his remarks for 5 p.m. prime time TV news. His publicity manager Glenn Selig said Blagojevich is aiming to reach as many people as he can at once.
"He wanted to speak to everybody as a collective. This is the message he's going to be leaving with people. This is what they're going to remember until he returns. This is what he'll remember," Selig said. "I think it's a very important message that he's making and it's a message that he's sending to people."
On Thursday, Blagojevich is to begin his 14-year sentence -- one of the toughest public corruption sentences ever handed out in Illinois. Blagojevich is to report to low-security prison in Colorado.
"He's definitely going to be speaking from the heart. And I think it's an important day, it certainly is for him and the people who have continued to believe in him -- family friends, all of that," Selig said. "It's quite extraordinary, when you think about it, just him doing it. Having the strength to do it. In 24 hours his world is going to be completely changing."
This is from a Selig press release
"This will be one of the most important moments of Rod Blagojevich's life. The governor never memorizes, does not use a script or a teleprompter. He speaks extemporaneously. He will speak from the heart," says Glenn Selig, the former governor's spokesman.
FAQs regarding the statement:
Q: Will there be an opportunity for the media to ask Rod Blagojevich questions?
A: No. This will be a statement only. This is NOT a news conference.
Q: Will the governor be doing any interviews?
A: There are no plans for any interviews with anyone.
Q: Will you release more information about the governor's plans for departing Chicago?
A: No, for security reasons we will not release detailed information.