CHICAGO (AP) – In an unwavering statement of innocence, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Friday he will be vindicated of criminal corruption charges and has no intention of letting what he called a “political lynch mob” force him from his job.
“I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath. I have done nothing wrong,” Blagojevich said, speaking for about three minutes in his first substantial public comments since his arrest last week on federal corruption charges.
The Democrat is accused, among other things, of plotting to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat in secretly recorded phone conversations.
“I’m not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob,” Blagojevich said.
“We were approached ‘pay to play,'” Blagojevich said as FBI agents listened intently. The candidate would raise $500,000 for Blagojevich, and an emissary would raise an additional $1 million, according to the conversation. [...]
On Wednesday, it was revealed that U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was the candidate, prompting him to hold an emotional news conference proclaiming his innocence. Jackson, the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said prosecutors have told him he is not the target of the bombshell investigation, nor is he accused of any wrongdoing. [...]
In an interview with The Associated Press, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said it’s “common in politics for people to try to leverage relationships,” but his son didn’t do such a thing.
“The good is news is … that it did not say he had done anything illegal,” Jackson said, referring to the criminal complaint. “Somebody in his name was trying to negotiate” [...]
Chicago Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., is the anonymous “Senate Candidate No. 5″ whose emissaries Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reportedly offered up to $1 million to name him to the U.S. Senate, his attorney confirmed today after it was reported earlier on ABCNews.com “The Blotter”.
According to the FBI affidavit in the case, Blagojevich “stated he might be able to cut a deal with Senate Candidate 5 that provided Rod Blagojevich” with something “tangible up front.” [...]
Jackson Jr.’s attorney James Montgomery confirmed that the Chicago congressman is “Senate Candidate #5″ but said “Jackson has never authorized anyone to seek the Governor’s support in return of money, fundraising or other things of value.”
Jackson said “I don’t know” when asked if he was Candidate #5 earlier this morning, but said he was told “I am not a target of this investigation.”
At a press conference this afternoon, Jackson Jr. did not comment on “Senate Candidate #5″ but said he has done nothing wrong [...]
Even taking into consideration the history of corruption in Illinois politics, this one is mind-boggling.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a 51-year old Democrat serving his second term, was arrested this morning on a plethora of corruption charges, including one that accuses him of conspiring to sell the Senate seat recently vacated by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder.
Blagojevich has long been the subject of a federal corruption investigation, as reports have swirled about alleged kickbacks for companies attempting to do business with the state [...]
Rod Blagojevich said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherf***er [the President-elect] his senator. F*** him. For nothing? F*** him.” Rod Blagojevich states that he will put “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give F***ing [Senate Candidate 1] a F***ing Senate seat and I don’t get anything.” (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois) [...]
New Orleans’ youthful, outspoken mayor grabbed the national spotlight after Hurricane Katrina and government incompetence conspired to destroy his city. Three years and another hurricane later he’s facing a different flood-of crime, corruption, and scandal-and this time there’s no FEMA to blame.
Nagin’s office décor mirrors the city’s culture, a mix of Spanish, French, and African influences: On one wall, there is a bright painting; behind his desk hangs an African quilt featuring jazzy embroidery of musical instruments; leaning against a wall is a photo of Nagin greeting Bush during the Katrina crisis.
The mayor’s unwillingness to tolerate criticism hardened into a state of willful denial this summer, thanks to a scandal involving a program run by the New Orleans Homeownership Corp. News reports revealing that contractors had charged the city for work they did not do prompted the convening of a grand jury. Nagin doesn’t seem worried about the federal investigation, even though one of the program’s highest-paid contractors—S&A Construction—is run by his brother-in-law, Cedric Smith. He vows that Smith will face justice if he is culpable. “Everybody’s looking at it,” Nagin says with a smile, “which is great. Because now I’ve got professional investigators versus bloggers.”
Despite the iconic post-Katrina images of New Orleans citizens waving for help from their rooftops, a voluntary-evacuation order by Nagin had cleared most of the city [...]
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