Monk pleads guilty to corruption

October 21, 2009 4:34:45 AM PDT
A former top aide to Rod Blagojevich has cut a deal with prosecutors and agreed to testify against the ousted Illinois governor. Alonzo "Lon" Monk, was one of Blagojevich's closest advisors. He served as his campaign manager and chief of staff.

In a plea agreement made Tuesday, Monk revealed many potentially detrimental details about Blagojevich's dealings. He is now considered a star witness in the corruption case against the former governor, who was his law school roommate in California.

In the plea agreement, Monk said he was there planning corruption with Blagojevich before his first inauguration. He could be the first insider witness against his old boss.

Monk admitted Tuesday he ran afoul of the law from the very start of Blagojevich's run for Illinois governor. Read the Plea Agreement (PDF)

The 51-year-old appeared at Chicago's federal courthouse, where U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel was waiting to take Monk's guilty plea, which was worked out with federal prosecutors.

Standing before Judge Zagel, Monk admitted to a corruption scheme and vowed to testify against Blagojevich in exchange for a reduced, 2-year prison sentence.

The 31-page plea agreement lays out details of pay-to-play meetings Monk had with the governor, corrupt businessman Tony Rezko, and the late advisor Christopher Kelly.

According to Monk's plea bargain, the aim of the corruption was to produce a bonanza of cash for the governor and his friends by funneling state contracts to businesses that would pony up and investing state funds through crooked lobbyists with brokers who were also in the schemes.

""What this does for the government is it gives them another insider's view as to what was going on with Blagojevich while he was in office to show the jury exactly what occurred during the course of the corruption that they're alleging," said Thomas Glasgow, legal expert.

Monk was represented in court by Michael Shepard, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago who is now a criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco. Both men left the Dirksen Federal Building without speaking to reporters.

The government's witness list in the case against the impeached governor is growing. Monk joins another former Blagojevich chief of staffer, John Harris who has also has pleaded guilty.

Tony Rezko is expected to testify as well, although the trial date isn't until next June.

In an apparent effort to pay his continuing legal bills, Blagojevich is in New York-- where he is taping Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice show-- and unable to respond to the plea deal.

A Blagojevich lawyer denies the former governor took part in any corrupt meetings, took a dime of corrupt money, or took a kickback on state deals.


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