Ex-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich says feds used Mike Madigan to rig impeachment

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Friday, February 18, 2022
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Borrowing a phrase championed by former President Donald Trump, who sprung him from prison, ex-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich says it was a "big lie" that he tried to sell a U.S. senate seat.

That is just one of numerous charges lobbed at federal prosecutors and a one-time, high-ranking state official in a newly filed court motion written personally by disbarred attorney Blagojevich. The ex-con ex-governor is currently suing Illinois' General Assembly for blocking his ability to run for statewide office, which was a result of his 2009 impeachment.

In Blagojevich's response to the state's Motion to Dismiss, he recounts the "unprecedented" day an FBI SWAT team surrounded his house in Ravenswood at 6 a.m. and arrested him. The arrest was "followed by a super sensational press conference held by the United States Attorney where he announced the big lie of an attempt to sell a United States Senate seat, a charge that would eventually be overturned by the Appellate Court on July 22, 2015," Blagojevich writes in the new court filing.

He then levels a new allegation against federal authorities: that then House Speaker Michael Madigan and the FBI were in cahoots to take him down.

"FBI agents working at the direction of the United States Attorney colluded with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan to prevent Plaintiff from calling relevant witnesses in his defense at the House impeachment hearings and from having the relevant FBI tapes heard at those House hearings," Blagojevich writes.

Late Thursday Madigan's attorney declined to comment on Blagojevich's accusation. A spokesman for the United States Attorney in Chicago also declined to comment Thursday evening on the Madigan collusion allegation floated by Illinois' 40th governor.

The disgraced governor, who spent nearly eight years of a 14 year sentence in federal prison, claims in the court filing that he had been "targeted for political destruction by an unscrupulous United States Attorney" Patrick Fitzgerald, "who weaponized his office and criminalized what were legal and routine political conversations in order to unconstitutionally overthrow a duly elected, and twice elected Governor."

Resurrecting his oft-stated desire to "play all the tapes" that he shouted before, during and after his two criminal trials, Blagojevich states that "there are hundreds of hours of FBI tapes that have been under a court ordered seal that was put in place shortly after his arrest on 9 December 2008, and that those FBI tapes to this very day, have not been allowed to be heard by the public or in court. Furthermore, Plaintiff contends that those taped conversations provide the full context of conversations, tell the whole truth, and prove every one of his claims."

Blagojevich is asking that the legal discovery process now begin in his suit against the state, an action in which he is representing himself.

In classic Blagojevich style, the new court filing begins with a dose of history.

"The legendary Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black once described a king who wrote the laws of his kingdom in a hand so fine that his subjects could not read them," it reads. "This gave the king the power to change the laws at will and to force his own whim. The rule of law is supposed to apply to all people regardless of status or station."

In addition to playing all the tapes, Blagojevich is aiming to have the court strike down an Illinois Senate resolution that prohibits him from running for office.

Blagojevich was released from a federal prison in Colorado in February 2020 after then-President Trump commuted his sentence.