Blago judge releases Santiago proffer

July 21, 2010 9:04:52 AM PDT
A judge has ordered the release of a key document that outlines the evidence in the corruption case against former Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The 91-page proffer is a general blueprint of the government's case against Rod Blagojevich and the most detailed look at the prosecution's evidence thus far. The general themes have been heard before, but the document contains - as prosecutors say - "more meat on the bones."

It does not contain any lengthy transcripts of secret tape recordings, but does make reference overall to more than four dozen recordings in the case of United States of America versus Rod Blagojevich.

The only secret Blagojevich tapes heard by the public were played the day the Senate voted to throw him out of office. Prosecutors alleged those brief recordings showed Blagojevich using the power of his office to squeeze a high-end campaign contribution.

In the Santiago proffer - released Wednesday - prosecutors portray an ex-governor, his wife and top aides as being obsessed with enriching their own pockets.

Despite warnings from allies that he could not consider personally profiting from naming a senate replacement for Barak Obama, Blagojevich - in a recorded conversation -tells a high ranking aide that his upward trajectory was blocked by Obama's election and that "Now is the time for me to put my (expletive) children and wife first, for a change."

Blagojevich, prosecutors say, tried to leverage a Cabinet level appointment for himself - telling his former Chief Of Staff John Harris "I'd like to get out, get the (expletive) out of here." The objective is to, to get a good gig over there."

And when exploring a possible private sector labor job just days after the presidential election, Blagojevich is on tape discussing his desire for a big paycheck: "I'd like a four-year contract for a mnillion a year or somethin'...Or 750 or whatever. It'd have to be good. Obama's got excess money, he just gives them more money."

The proffer also makes many references to Blagojevich's wife, Patti, and thousands of dollars real estate commissions funneled to her by Blagojevich friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko. Prosecutors say little, if any work was done by Mrs. Blagojevich.

As far back as 2003, the document says the newly elected governor met with top aides, Kelly, Monk and Rezko, and that Rezko stood at a chalkboard while listing the ways the four could make money from state business. Prosecutors say the amounts "...were typically in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per deal which would be evenly split four ways."

The Blagojevich defense team was opposed to releasing the proffer - saying that doing so was manifestly unfair because it presented just one side of the case and that it would unfairly prejudice potential jurors.

Judge James Zagel did not agree - writing earlier Wednesday that while potential jurors may have formed impressions on this clearly high-profile case, people don't often retain detailed knowledge of what they read or hear, and that disclosing written material a month and a half before trial "doesn't come close to presenting a significant threat that a fair jury cannot be found."

Patti Blagojevich was busy Wednesday night with police after vandals threw rocks at their Chicago home but Rod was nowhere to be seen.

Through his public relations firm, the ex-governor released a written statement earlier calling the government's proffer "nothing new" and "the same old false allegations and lies."

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