All Articles Tagged "Rod Blagojevich"
Jesse Jackson Jr. Resigns From Congress Amidst Health Issues And FBI Probe That Could Put Him In Jail
According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr, son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson of course, has resigned from Congress today. And while he said in a letter that his health is the main reason he will step down since he can’t really be effective as he battles bipolar depression, others think it has more to do with the fact that he is being investigated by the FBI and the House Ethics Committee for the misuse of campaign funds and Congressional allowances. Congressman get an allowance which they can use to “operate offices in Washington and in their districts” according to the Chicago Sun-Times, but we previously reported that reports were saying that Jackson was using his allowance to buy Rolex watches for women friends and to decorate his D.C. home. We also reported that there were rumors of a plea deal in the works that would include his resignation from Congress, and sadly this has occurred, and just weeks after winning re-election for the tenth time. According to CNN, authorities are also looking into allegations that in 2008, someone in Jackson’s camp offered to have Jackson’s team raise money for former Governor Rod Blagojevich, but only if Jackson would be appointed to President Obama’s empty Senate seat.
In his letter of resignation, Jackson did discuss the investigation and said that whatever is found out about him, he will take responsibility for. According to the Chicago Tribune, the letter went something like this:
“I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone. None of us is immune from our share of shortcomings or human frailties and I pray that I will be remembered for what I did right.”
But as mentioned earlier, Jackson made it clear that it is because of his health, first and foremost, that he is leaving his seat. He’s not admitting any form of guilt, but just owning up to any mistakes:
“My health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with service in the House of Representatives. Therefore, it is with great regret that I hereby resign as a member of the United States House of Representatives, effective today, in order to focus on restoring my health…Once the doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better every day and look forward to serving you.”
The 47-year-old has been struggling with an array of health issues (on top of being diagnosed as bipolar, his office said he has also been treated for gastrointestinal issues) for most of the year, and he hadn’t been seen in the House of Representatives since early June. Jackson has had scandal follow him for the past few years his name being tied into the Rod Blagojevich scandal, his most recent investigation into the way he’s spending money monitored by Congress, and past drama with him asking folks to pay for random women to fly to come see him. Whatever is going on, it really is time for Jackson to step down, take care of his health and his probes, the latter which is tarnishing his reputation, and just go get his life back on track.
Are you surprised that he resigned, or did you see it coming?
(The Grio) — The scandal forced him to cop to an extramarital affair that all but doomed his hopes to run for Chicago mayor. Now, he faces the very real prospect of an ethics probe that threatens to shadow him for the remainder of his career. The full extent of Jackson Jr.’s ethical woes remains to be seen. Having said that, it places the congressman in conspicuously dubious company. Over the last few years, more than a few black congressmen have found themselves ensnared in ethics violations — the most embarrassing of which featured Charles Rangel, the raspy-voiced dean of the New York Congressional delegation, at its center.
(Chicago Tribune) — This will be cold comfort for Rod Blagojevich, but many of the 12 jurors who convicted him of corruption said they wanted — some almost desperately — to find him not guilty. But in the end, the shadow of the prosecution’s mountain of evidence was too long to escape. ”You really didn’t want to find him guilty and you were trying to find him not guilty, and it was just so hard because all the evidence is there,” said Karen Wojcieszak, 64, of Tinley Park. ”I was one where I felt he was not guilty on several counts,” said Maribel DeLeon, 45, of West Dundee. “But, lo and behold, we would go back through the tapes and there it was. I’d say, ‘Ah, Rod.’ It hurt me. How could I say not guilty when the evidence was there?”
(Chicago Sun Times) — The former Illinois governor who once talked so much — on secret tapes, in the media, and ultimately on the witness stand — now had to listen to a federal jury. What Rod Blagojevich heard on Monday left him nearly speechless. On its 10th day of deliberations, a jury of 11 women and one man overwhelmingly convicted Blagojevich in his second trial, voting him guilty on 17 of 20 counts. The ex-governor was convicted on every count having to do with the sale of President Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat as well as on charges he shook down the CEO of a children’s hospital and an Illinois racetrack executive. It was a monumental fall for the man who thought he could beat it all. And for once, Blagojevich had little to say. “Among the many lessons that I’ve learned from this whole experience is to try to speak a little bit less,” Blagojevich told reporters after court, his wife, Patti, at his side. “Patti and I obviously are very disappointed in the outcome. I, frankly, am stunned.”
Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 (count ‘em) counts of corruption for what were deemed as his attempts (click for audio) to sell or trade Obama’s senate seat, money extortion and and lying to the FBI. Blagojevich’s reaction to the ruling was that he was “stunned,” as I’m sure he didn’t really believe he’d be convicted of so many counts since he was mighty cocky after last year’s fluff trial.
While the counts numerically add up to a hefty prison sentence, analysts say Blagojevich could face about 10 to 15 years of his sentence. His legal team is looking to appeal, but the former governor’s own main focus after leaving court yesterday was to go home and see the kiddies:
“Patti and I are obviously very disappointed. I, frankly, am stunned.”
We want to get home to our little girls and sort things out. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you guys soon.”
If this teaches us anything other than the obvious, it’s probably to not go on reality TV shows when the nation thinks you’re a creep, and to watch what you say and how you say it. Cause you’ll look mighty crazy (and guilty) if it winds up on tape…
What do you think of yesterday’s guilty verdict?
(Chicago Sun Times) — Rod Blagojevich has called U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. “repugnant,” a liar, and a “really bad guy.” Then he called him to the witness stand. It was a gamble for the former governor to ask his onetime nemesis to testify Wednesday as the first defense witness in his retrial, one that ultimately didn’t seem to pay off. As he took the stand on an electrified day that also saw the testimony of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jackson’s remarks initially appeared helpful. In contrast to what a government witness’ testimony suggested, Jackson said he in no way knew about or authorized anyone to offer Blagojevich money in exchange for the Senate seat. Jackson’s testimony then devolved as he leveled an allegation against the ex-governor, mocked Blagojevich, and appeared as if he were enjoying it. Jackson alleged Blagojevich did not appoint his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, to an Illinois Lottery post because Jackson refused to ante up a $25,000 campaign contribution.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. are expected to be among the first witnesses to take the stand as Rod Blagojevich launches his defense case Wednesday, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. The latest game-plan hatched Tuesday was to have the two sitting politicians on deck Wednesday morning — both of whom were contacted by the defense team late last week about testifying this week, sources said. Jackson and Emanuel, both Democrats, remained under defense subpoena since the ex-governor’s first trial last summer. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times in April, Blagojevich said “in all likelihood” his attorneys would call Emanuel and Jackson to testify. This week, Jackson’s office had inquired about the logistics of getting in and out the federal courthouse, according to sources. And Jackson had told others the defense asked him to be prepared to testify this week.
As the re-trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich continues, all eyes have now turned to U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr, who is denying allegations that he instructed fundraisers to channel $1.5 million in campaign contributions to Blagojevich if Blagojevich agreed to name him as Barack Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that fund-raiser and government witness Rajinder Bedi testified in Blagojevich’s trial last week that he and another fund-raiser met with Jackson right before the 2008 election to discuss fundraising and the Senate seat.
Jackson does not deny that a conversation involving Blagojevich and the fundraisers took place, but he asserts that he was not involved in it.
Jackson also maintains that he has no idea why the offer would be made, adding, “you’ll have to ask them.”
He told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday after the inauguration festivities for Mayor Emmanuel and the new City Council at Millennium Park, “I’ve committed and participated in no such scheme.”
Jackson goes on to say he believes the previous investigation has been “thorough” and already proves his innocence. He says he’s confident that the political drama that started three and a half years ago will leave him in “no legal troubles of his own.”
(Chicago Sun Times) — U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. on Monday flatly denied that he directed fundraisers to funnel $1.5 million in campaign contributions to Rod Blagojevich if Blagojevich agreed to name Jackson to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Jackson (D-Ill.) offered his public comment on the damaging trial testimony after attending inauguration ceremonies at Millennium Park for Mayor Emanuel and the new City Council.
(Chicago Sun Times) — A federal judge on Thursday denied a request from Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers to release a report on President Obama’s interview with the FBI. Agents interviewed Obama after Blagojevich’s 2008 arrest. At the time, Obama was president-elect and transitioning into the White House. He was interviewed as part of the investigation into Blagojevich because the ex-governor was accused of plotting to sell Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.