Ill. politicians react to Blago verdict

August 17, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Politicians of both major parties are still trying to figure what the Blagojevich verdict really means.

Illinois Democrats are most concerned about the outcome of the trial because it means there is no chance they could use the next two and a half months to put the Rod Blagojevich case behind them. Guilty or innocent, that had been the plan in advance of the November 2 general election.

Two statements from Democrats involved either with the case or with the Senate seat appointment arrived after the verdict.

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior wrote, "unfortunately, the pain and embarrassment that this whole situation has caused our great state will not come to a complete close today. As for me, I repeat what I've said all along. My interest in the Senate seat was based on years of public service, not some improper scheme with Blagojevich or anyone else."

Also Tuesday afternoon, United States Senator Roland Burris, who was appointed by Blagojevich after the governor was arrested, made a statement. In an email Burris wrote, "following a fair hearing in court, former governor rod Blagojevich has been found guilty on one count for making false statements to the FBI. He has been given a fair trial by the judgment of a jury of his peers."

Both major party nominees for governor weighed in on the verdict Tuesday night.

"I think the decision was made that my predecessor betrayed teh public's trust in handling the office," said Gov. Quinn.

In a statement Bill Brady said, "the people of Illinois are rightly frustrated about the unchecked power of politicians like Rod Blagojevich who put the special interests before tax payers. This important election in November marks the single best opportunity in our lifetime to finally clean house in Springfield."

There was disappointment from Republican Judy Baar Topinka who lost the 2006 general election to Rod Blagojevich. She called the former governor a "bad man" and cannot believe the jury deliberated so long to find him guilty on just one count.

"For heaven's sakes, one out of 24? And it reminds me of going to an ice cream store and having 24 flavors and taking 11 days and you wind up with vanilla. And I don't know what they did for that long," said Topinka. When asked if Republicans will get a boost since the Blagojevich problems hasn't gone away, she said, "They were only too happy to recount George Ryan to us, he was convicted of 18 counts. He was penny ante compared to this guy."

Republican governor George Ryan is serving a six and a half year sentence and now Democrat Rod Blagojevich is a convicted felon.

"It is time Illinois changed its system we will have changes in January. People have to be diligent to get changes they deserve," said Cindy Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a non-partisan education and advocacy organization that addresses accountability in politics.

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