Rod Blagojevich

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gov. Pat Quinn, who cut his political teeth during the rancorous reign of the combative Dan Walker, is biting back in a fashion that evokes instructive memories of his former boss.

(Official Department of Justice Photo/via Wikimedia Commons)

Some reporting also via Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Updated 1:31 p.m. with statement from current Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.

The man whose prosecutions helped put two Illinois Governors (George Ryan and then Rod Blagojevich) in prison has announced he's stepping down.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald's office made the announcement today, effective June 30.  He's been in the position since 2001.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Victim of tent collapse died of blunt force trauma

The St. Louis medical examiner says a man who was killed when a tent collapsed near Busch Stadium on Saturday died of blunt force trauma.

58-year-old Alfred Goodman of Waterloo, Ill., was the only fatality when a party tent at Kilroy’s Sports Bar blew apart in a violent thunderstorm. 100 people were treated at the scene, and another 16 taken to local hospitals.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Nixon heading to Brazil

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will be heading to Brazil on a trade mission later this month.

Nixon planned to announce more details of the trip during news conferences today in Springfield and Independence.

Last year, Missouri businesses sold $323 million worth of products to Brazil, which ranked as the state's 10th largest export market. Nixon's trip to the South American nation comes about six months after he led a trade delegation to China. Missouri's international exports totaled $14.1 billion in 2011, an all-time high.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The answer to the question we know you were all asking is here.

So, what will become of Rod Blagojevich's hair in prison?

Blagojevich's barber says the former Illinois governor's famously thick, dark hair is dyed and will turn gray within the first months of his prison term.

Flickr/soundfromwayout

Blagojevich headed to prison today

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich left his Chicago home this morning and is heading to Colorado to begin a 14-year federal prison term for corruption.

He is expected to report to the prison by 2 o’clock this afternoon.  

Blagojevich is the state's second governor in a row to be sent to prison for corruption.

The famously talkative Democrat embraced the public spotlight one last time yesterday evening, seeming to relish the attention of reporters' microphones and hovering television helicopters.

On his last full day of freedom, Rod Blagojevich will do what he loved doing as governor and while defending himself unsuccessfully against corruption charges. He'll step up to a microphone and talk.

Blagojevich is scheduled to deliver a last statement outside his home in Chicago on Wednesday. The 55-year-old Democrat is due to report to a prison in Colorado on Thursday to begin serving a 14-year sentence.

He's announced that he'll make a statement starting precisely at 5:02 p.m., which enables prime time news to lead with his remarks.

(St. Louis County website)

St. Louis County goes on holiday recess with approved budget

The St. Louis County Council has approved a 2012 budget after a contentious season of fiscal wrangling with County Executive Charlie Dooley. Early this fall Dooley's county budget estimates convinced him to propose drastic cuts. Dooley drew sharp criticism for his proposal to shut down 23 county parks and lay off almost 200 county employees.   

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 1:48 p.m., then 2:16 p.m.

A federal judge has denied what he called a "harebrained" motion by Rod Blagojevich's lawyers over what they claimed was potential misconduct by the forewoman at his corruption retrial.

Judge James Zagel threatened Monday to sanction the attorney who drafted the motion for the impeached Illinois governor, who was convicted of charges including that he tried to sell President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

Blagojevich "ripe candidate" for prison drug rehab according to report

A probation report says ousted Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich may be a "ripe candidate" for a drug treatment program in prison. That's according to defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who says he doesn't know what Blagojevich said to a probation officer to lead to that conclusion.

Judge James Zagel has agreed to recommend Blagojevich for a drug treatment program when he starts his   14-year prison sentence for corruption in March.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Rod Blagojevich's attorneys have asked to have him placed in a drug rehab program when he starts his 14-year prison sentence. They aren't saying if the former Illinois governor has a problem or if it's a legal move.

A judge agreed Tuesday to recommend Blagojevich for the program. Federal prison officials have the final say.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Rod Blagojevich has forfeited all his state pension benefits. That's the opinion of Illinois' Attorney General.

The legal opinion likely means Blagojevich won't begin getting checks when he turns 55 this weekend.  The board overseeing the General Assembly Retirement System moved earlier this year to block the payments. 

Flickr/soundfromwayout

Blagojevich plans to keep fighting

Rod Blagojevich has just over two months of freedom before he's scheduled to begin a 14-year prison term. But the ex-governor and his lawyers plan to keep fighting.  

After Judge James Zagel handed down the sentence, and the public was ushered out of the courtroom, more than an hour passed before the ex-governor, his wife and his lawyers appeared in the lobby of the court building.

(via Flickr/soundfromwayout)

This is a developing story - check back for updates.

Updated 12:49 p.m. with more on Judge Zagel's remarks, 1:19 p.m. with more detailed quotes, 2:01 p.m. with Blagojevich's reaction

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison - becoming the fourth Illinois governor in 40 years to be sent to prison.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Cardinals submit new offer to Pujols

(via Flickr/soundfromwayout)

Two day sentencing hearing for Blagojevich begins today

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich's sentencing hearing is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Much of today's hearing will be a repeat of what attorneys have already argued in written motions filed with the court.

The one unknown variable is the governor himself. He'll get a chance to address the court.

Former federal prosecutor Dave Weisman says Blagojevich should read a prepared statement and keep it short.

SLPRnews

Occupy STL members say movement still strong

The tents are gone from Kiener Plaza, along with the big crowds. But people involved in the Occupy St. Louis movement say they're still going strong.

Today marks the two-month anniversary of the movement that began in New York and spread to several other cities. At one point in St. Louis, more than 100 people were camped in Kiener Plaza, a downtown park.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Federal prosecutors say ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison.

The 54-year-old Blagojevich was convicted of 18 corruption-related counts, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. A federal judge will sentence him next week.

In advance of sentencing, both prosecutors and Blagojevich's attorneys are expected to make recommendations on what his sentence should be.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A federal judge has set former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's sentencing on corruption charges for Dec. 6.

The new date appeared on a U.S. District Court's website Monday.

A federal judge in September indefinitely delayed an Oct. 6 sentencing date for Blagojevich apparently because it would have conflicted with the start of a related trial that month.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Illinois Supreme Court has suspended convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's license to practice law.

The court acted Wednesday in response to a request from the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

The Chicago Democrat has been a lawyer since 1984. But he hasn't practiced law since joining Congress in 1997.

Blagojevich was governor from 2003 to 2009, when he was impeached and removed from office.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold used in this report.

Federal prosecutors are making their case for why Rod Blagojevich should not be allowed a third trial.

In a lengthy filing, prosecutors say Blagojevich's convictions were just.

And, just as importantly, the trial was done in a fair way.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 1:14 p.m.

Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich claims he never would have testified at his recent corruption trial had he known the judge would stop him from making certain statements.

Blagojevich made the assertion in an affidavit tagged at the end of a 158-page motion for a new trial filed this week.

He testified for seven days at his retrial. Jurors later convicted him on 17 corruption counts.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Reporting by WBEZ’s Robert Wildeboer used in this report.

Within the next few weeks, attorneys for ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will be asking Judge James Zagel for a mistrial. That’s unlikely to succeed, which means they’ll move on to a higher court. Still, Blagojevich’s testimony could cause problems for an appeal.

(UPI)

Updated 2:24 p.m. with verdict information:

A jury has convicted Rod Blagojevich of nearly all the corruption charges against him, including trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

(See full list of charges and verdicts below with details)

Jurors delivered their verdicts Monday after deliberating nine days.

Blagojevich had faced 20 charges, including the Senate seat allegation and that he schemed to shake down executives for campaign donations. He was convicted on all charges regarding the Senate seat.

He testified for seven days, denying wrongdoing. Prosecutors said he lied and the proof was on FBI wiretaps. Those included a widely parodied clip in which Blagojevich calls the Senate opportunity "f------ golden."

Jurors in his first trial deadlocked on all but one charge, convicting Blagojevich of lying to the FBI.

Blagojevich already faces up to five years for the lying conviction.

Busch Stadium
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Cardinals, Royals to team up for series to benefit Joplin recovery

The St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals will be teaming up to help raise money for tornado recovery efforts in Joplin, Mo. Missouri's two Major League Baseball teams are to meet for an interleague series June 17-19 in St. Louis.

Flickr/ jglazer75

Ill. General Assembly Approves Budget

Schools are traditionally an area Illinois legislators have left untouched when they're looking to cut spending. But the budget the General Assembly approved Monday night gives 3 percent less to education for the coming year that begins in July.

Overall cuts are wide ranging and total $2.3 billion less than what Gov. Pat Quinn proposed  in Feb. That was enough for Republicans in the House, but the Senate GOP says it's still too rich.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Two Inmates Escape from St. Louis Justice Center

St. Louis police continue to search for two jail inmates that escaped from the St. Louis Justice Center located at 200 S. Tucker Blvd this morning. Police say 34-year-old Vernon Collins and 33-year-old David White escaped shortly before 7 a.m. and are wearing white t-shirts and shorts and white tennis shoes.

(via Flickr/soundfromwayout)

The federal judge for Rod Blagojevich's second corruption trial almost immediately refused a request from the former governor's lawyers this morning to delay by several weeks the opening of the proceedings

  • Attorneys for Rod Blagojevich are asking a judge to throw out secret wiretap recordings made of the former Illinois governor in 2008, claiming there are gaps in the tapes. Defense attorneys say the gaps may contain context needed to understand the conversations. In their motion filed early today, they asked a judge to prevent jurors from hearing any wiretaps. Blagojevich faces an April 20 retrial on 23 charges, including that the impeached governor tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.
  • Andrew N.

Calvin Coolidge made a typically terse observation that deserves attention now that a jury divided on 23 other counts unanimously agreed that former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich lied to federal agents. “No man ever listened himself out of a job,” the iconically laconic 30th president of the United States once said.

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