Blagojevich indictment imminent

April 1, 2009 8:30:38 PM PDT
An indictment charging former Governor Rod Blagojevich with corruption is expected as early as Thursday.The indictment would replace a complaint charging Blagojevich with crimes including an effort to sell President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.

The buzz around the federal courts is that with a deadline looming, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald will hand up an indictment against the former governor.

It would be a grand jury's assessment that based on what was in the criminal complaint that led to the former governor's arrest on December 9 it is evidence enough he should stand trial on a range of political corruption charges.

The former governor's house was dark on the night before what many expect is the next chapter in the story of his fall from grace: a grand jury's indictment on corruption charges.

Instead, an ABC7 viewer spotted him and his family checking into the Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World in Orlando on Wednesday and snapped some picture.

Longtime court observers say U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is not expected to hold a press conference like he did on December 9 when the criminal complaint - outlining Blagojevich's alleged attempts to sell President Obama's Senate seat and other pay to play schemes - was unveiled.

"I think if they have a press announcement I think it will be muted," said Patrick Collins former assistant U.S. attorney. "They have done their show and they got some criticism for saying some hyperbolic things about Lincoln rolling over in grave and I think they've heard that and they'll listen to that and they will react to that."

The man who sent former Governor George Ryan to prison for corruption says it's likely the indictment will charge others close to Blagojevich but there will be less detail about alleged wrongdoing than has already been disclosed.

"Since December 9, people have been streaming into the federal building they have been cutting deals with people, providing new information, they've digested wiretaps," said Collins.

If there's an indictment Blagojevich and his co-accused from December 9, former chief of staff John Harris, would be notified electronically. They wouldn't have to go to court until an arraignment date is set on any new charges.

Any new defendants will be given the opportunity to surrender rather than being arrested.


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