What Laws Did the Governor Break?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The press conference was certainly amusing, but what's the legal basis of the Blagojevich indictment? Former federal prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney Michael Cornacchia and New York Times Chicago bureau chief Monica Davey look at the legal side of the story.


Michael Cornacchia and Monica Davey

Comments [25]

mc from Brooklyn

Depends on which events you are talking about. Obama's election was Nov 4, Blag's arrest was almost exactly a month later.

"Sarah who" --- lol!

Dec. 12 2008 06:53 PM
Mike from MADhattan


The events are 10months apart :c)

Sarah who? heheh

Dec. 12 2008 02:23 PM
mc from Brooklyn

If you are still reading -- I have always been very cautious about assuming that because two events occur close together that one must be causing the other. Also, the intensity that you describe could be that the media are looking for a juicy story, now that Sarah Palin has gone back to Alaska.

Dec. 12 2008 02:05 PM
Mike from MADhattan


You make excellent points about the timing, although I'm still not convinced. Nor was I declaring this a "witch-hunt".

Not only is the timing suspect, but the INTENSITY of the media coverage & smear campaign.

Corruption & politics go hand in hand. This is all slight of hand. Something else is about to pop, yet we'll still be fed this & Oprah's resurging waistline.

Let's see what happens IF R.Emanuel turns out to be the "advisor" on the tape.

Dec. 12 2008 12:00 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Agreed about the mobster mentality of both parties. However, it looks as though the IL gov has really gone off the reservation. Should nothing have been done?

Got it. Sorry, missed it before.

Dec. 12 2008 11:34 AM
Jim O'Reilly from Morristown, NJ

The host for this show suggested that the Constitution originally provided for Governors to appoint Senators. Actually the Constitution originally provided that the legislatures chose the Senators (see ):

"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Also, a caller asked if there was any other method used to fill vacancies in the Senate. Some states actually use a special election to fill the vacancy.

"Clause 2. When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of each State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct."

As explained in

"Some states provide a special election to fill a vacancy. A special election for a Senate seat need not be held immediately after the vacancy arises; instead, it is typically conducted at the same time as the next biennial congressional election. If a special election for one seat happens to coincide with a general election for the state's other seat, then the two elections are not combined, but are instead contested separately. A senator elected in a special election takes office immediately and serves until the original six-year term expires, and not for a full term. Furthermore, any state legislature may empower the Governor to temporarily fill vacancies. The interim appointee remains in office until the special election can be held. The states of Alaska, Arizona, and Massachusetts do not authorize the Governor to make temporary appointments."

Dec. 12 2008 11:29 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

mc from Brooklyn
sorry was trying to use sarcasm....needed smiley face or something at the end I guess

Dec. 12 2008 11:27 AM
Samuel from NYC

#16 MC-
Democrats and Republicans are more or less playing for the same side of more private power, less government oversight.
Any politician who steps outside of that ideology, democrat or republican, will get thrown to the lions.

Dec. 12 2008 11:19 AM
Samuel from NYC

Couldn't agree more. This seems all to 'coincidental' to me. I think the whole Obama team is in for a bumpy ride thew next four years.
The corporate media has already started to engage.

Dec. 12 2008 11:12 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Mike #14,
I certainly think we have to be on the lookout for witch-hunts like the case of Don Siegelman in Alabama, but I think you're stretching it here. The timing is actually quite logical. The gov was already in trouble and being watched as you said. There was an ethics law passed by the IL Legislature, vetoed by the gov and then overridden by the Legislature that was to go in effect Jan 1. The gov was trying to get all of it in before the law took effect. Also, while he is a Dem, don't forget, his predecessor is a Repub and is in jail now, so this does not help the GOP much. It could hurt Obama, we will have to see how his team handles it going forward and also how involved they relly were. So far, they look pretty clean.

Dec. 12 2008 11:12 AM
mc from Brooklyn

To answer your question from #1, the charges are federal, brought by Patrick Fitzgerald, US Attorney for northern Illinois. Given his handling of the Scooter Libby case I would guess that he is not being partisan here.

Joe Carrao of Brooklyn:
"The next honest politician?" There is a pretty dismal record here. George Ryan, the predecessor is in jail now.

Dec. 12 2008 11:02 AM
Mike from MADhattan

O from Forest Hills' first comment is right on target.

Doesn't anyone else find the timing of these charges suspicious? Especially in light of the fact that they've been investigating him for over 2 years? I'm not condoning his behavior, but I suspect this is what goes on behind the scenes with ALL politicians... he happened to side with the people on THIS instance and he is paying dearly.

The same can be said with former Gov Spitzer. Not that what he did was right, but wasn't the timing suspicious as well? He had a op-ed piece about to be published in the Washington Post that was severely critical of Dubya's admin regarding the impending implosion of the credit markets due to the subprime mortgages.


This list goes on. People need to wake up & take THEIR gov't back or we'll all get what's coming to us.

Dec. 12 2008 10:59 AM
S from Brooklyn

Can I just say that Jami is the best guest host yet? Brainy and easy on the ears and very worthy of the mic. If they every add another news/talk show, she should be considered.

Dec. 12 2008 10:49 AM
Tom Betz from Yonkers

You misrepresented Fitzgerald's charges in the complaint.

Fitzgerald never said that Jackson offered Blagojavich money; Fitzgerald quoted Blagojavich SAYING that Jackson (or his people) had offered fundraising. We have no way of knowing whether that actually happened. Many people who know Illinois politics best are saying that for the past two years, Blagojavich could best be described as delusional; certainly his recorded babbling about running for President in 2016 would reinforce that possibilty.

Dec. 12 2008 10:38 AM

reminds me of enron in 01. the press got whipped up over offshore vehicles. Imagine!

7 yrs later they continue to be perfectly legal.

everyone is talking around the process of selecting a senator w/out a vote. how did you expect this guy to choose the senator? seriously, what are the guidelines there for appointing someone as a representative! to an elected position? that is the rotting fish.

Dec. 12 2008 10:36 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Ya innocent till proven guilty...unless you are poor and defenseless

Dec. 12 2008 10:35 AM
O from Forest Hills

Why isn't he hiring a defense attorney to knock this out and slow down the process is what I am thinking!

He isn't protecting his self interest.

I am not on the witch hunt. I think he is innocent till proven guilty and the press loves to twist things to their point of view.

Dec. 12 2008 10:32 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

the witch hunt continues, only the governor is not the real target!

Dec. 12 2008 10:31 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

its irrelevant if he goes to jail....just get him out of office and lets get the next honest politician in there....

Dec. 12 2008 10:31 AM
Drea from Manhattan

My honest question is: What was he thinking? Did he actually think he had any chance of getting away with this?

Dec. 12 2008 10:28 AM
Linda from CT

The charges are specifically about bribes/acts, but are there no charges regarding betraying the public trust of the voters and constituents? Are there no legal fiduciary requirements that would warrant those types of public fraud charges?

Dec. 12 2008 10:27 AM
Leo in NYC from soho

I know the prosecutors have to build a good case, but they've been investigating the guy for years and they let him get re-elected. How do they balance getting a conviction with stopping ongoing corruption?

Dec. 12 2008 10:24 AM
O from Forest Hills

beyond a REASONABLE doubt, not what the press editor thinks.

Dec. 12 2008 10:23 AM
O from Forest Hills

Remember innocent until proven guilty!

Dec. 12 2008 10:23 AM
O from Forest Hills

It is convenient how these charges come about after the Illinois Governor supported Republic Doors not doing business with Bank of America on Monday?

Is there a vendetta or is this a witch hunt possibly?

Are they prosecuting on federal or state level?

Dec. 12 2008 10:23 AM

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