Blagojevich wins one; Appellate court to receive transcripts of all undercover tapes

The ABC7 Eyewitness News I-Team has learned of a victory for imprisoned Illinois former Governor Rod Blagojevich, albeit a small one.
January 14, 2014 10:00:00 PM PST
The ABC7 Eyewitness News I-Team has learned of a victory for imprisoned Illinois former Governor Rod Blagojevich, albeit a small one.

Blagojevich finally has an answer to the question he asked so many times: Why not play all the tapes?

When he wasn't quoting Kipling or signing autographs at the federal courthouse, former Governor Blagojevich would frequently repeat that line: play all the tapes.

Of course, he was referring to the hours and hours of undercover recordings made by the FBI, only a portion of which were played at trial. Blagojevich believed that if the jury could heard them all he would have been cleared. That didn't happen but the appellate court will now be able to consider all the tapes.

"Play all the tapes" became Blagojevich's battle cry at both of his corruption trials.

And Wednesday night it is resurrected as his appeal moves forward.

With the ex-governor tucked in for another dozen years or so at a federal penitentiary in Colorado, his attorneys in Chicago filed a motion in federal court, stating that Blagjoevich's submitted wiretap transcripts were not filed with the appeals court clerk, comprised of an index and 52 transcripts.

They want the appellate court to have transcripts of all the recordings of conversations here at Blagojevich's home in Chicago and at his campaign headquarters taped by the FBI in its pay to play investigation.

The jury only heard the juiciest parts.

Although he didn't play them during his brief defense, Blagojevich maintains the rest of the recording would exonerate him.

The federal prosecutor's position points out that the government has not reviewed for accuracy Those transcripts that were not presented to the jury, but that the government agrees to the defendant's motion, although the transcripts should be kept under seal because they have never been publicly disclosed.

Wednesday night Judge James Zagel has authorized turn over of all the transcripts.

Unknown is whether the three appeals court judges will find any reason to read through transcripts of 500 hours of phone calls. Oral arguments were heard in the appeal more than a month ago, a session that seemed to focus on whether Blagojevich had crossed the line from political horse-trading to illegal favors-for-bribes.


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