Hair and Square: Freed By Trump, Blago Returns

I WILL say this for Rod Blagojevich: he certainly aged well in prison. At the time of his drawn-out prosecution and conviction, I thought of the one-time Governor of Illinois as a garden variety corrupt Chicago pol. Since Donald Trump commuted his sentence earlier this week, I’ve read more about his alleged crimes. Conclusion? Smugly, recklessly entitled as giver and taker of mostly political preferment in a city famed for its bossism, yes. But at his first trial in 2010, Blagojevich was convicted on only one of 24 federal charges; the jury was hung on the other 23. This was an embarrassing debacle for the Federal government. The one successful conviction was for the fake process “crime” of – you guessed it – lying to the FBI. As Mark Steyn has pointed out many times, even if you win against the Feds in court, you will probably be tried again. Uncle Sam has limitless money and malice. Sure enough, Blagojevich was tried a second time. Sufficient charges were upheld by a more amenable jury that a stupidly callous head sentence of 14 years was eventually imposed. That the DoJ attorney pulling the prosecutorial strings was notorious fanatic Patrick J. Fitzgerald makes the case even more worthy of review.

Fitzgerald – a close friend and ally of disgraced former FBI Director James Comey (and godfather to one of his children) – was also Special Counsel in the Scooter Libby investigation. It eventually emerged that he knew all along the leaker of Valerie Plame’s (never particularly secret) identity as a CIA agent was Deputy Secretary of State and well-liked insider Dick Armitage, not Libby, who as chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney was a Republican political operative. This corrupt mendacity – along with the equally partisan and unscrupulous railroading of Conrad Black and GOP senator Ted Stevens – led the Wall Street Journal to call for Fitzgerald’s dismissal in 2010.

As we now understand more fully – partly thanks to Comey, who believed he and his privileged friends would be protected by the incoming Hillary Clinton administration – the letter of the law in contemporary America for cases involving politicians only applies in its strictest measure to non-Democrats. That’s why Fitzgerald was able to get away with his dirty tricks for so long. Alas for Governor Blagojevich, there was a unique reason he was a Democrat exception to the rule. The most publicised charge against him was that he had sought to ‘sell’ the empty Illinois Senate seat of Barack Obama. For his part, Blagojevich insisted he had liaised openly and transparently with the then President-elect about a replacement.

To make matters even more potentially disastrous for the new man in the White House, his chief adviser David Axelrod accidentally confirmed that Obama did speak directly with Blagojevich about the Senate seat. Axelrod retracted later when the implications of a fresh President conferencing with a man whose phones were tapped as part of a much wider corruption probe became obvious. This may have been the first of the many “misspoke” excuses of the Obama era. Journalists, editorialists, cartoonists and career pressure appliers – most of them in loving thrall to the “Light Worker” – abandoned Blagojevich to his fate. Ironically, after a 2013 appeal, the seat-selling conviction was one of five vacated by the Seventh Circuit. In a leftist party whose big names have to fake modest back-stories, Blagojevich came up poor and tough. A Golden Gloves boxing champ who won more than he lost, he clawed his way to the top. That doesn’t excuse wrongdoing but it does say something about the elitist culture and moral hypocrisy of Deep State fixers. He got 14 years for seeking to advance his own career by using the power of patronage while men like Comey tried to rig a coup and walked away.

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12 Responses to Hair and Square: Freed By Trump, Blago Returns

  1. Suburban Boy

    Patrick Fitzgerald is a disgrace. The convictions he gained against Conrad Black were all eventually thrown out by appeal courts – with the sole exception of a process offence (which of course could not have taken place but for the baseless prosecution that Fitzgerald launched).

  2. Scott Osmond

    Will he settle scores? Or will he be given a go away gift by the party that railroaded him.

  3. C.L.

    I doubt he’ll get any largesse from them, Scott.
    Unlucky bastard, Blago, in a way. It was only because his version of the senate seat business rubbed up the wrong way against Obama/Axelrod that he was cut off from his Democrat privileges. That it was Donald Trump that commuted the sentence blackens his reputation still further with his old party colleagues.
    As for Fitzgerald, he should have been disbarred and prosecuted himself.

  4. Crossie

    Fitzgerald could be called our era’s Torquemada. Everyone he went after was judged guilty regardless of the truth. It seems he has a whole army of imitators in the US legal system.

    As for Blago, he tried to profit by something only Obama was allowed to do and that was his crime in the Democrat Party.

    It’s really horrific how Obama wielded power yet Trump who is constantly called a dictator is almost completely hobbled.

  5. BorisG

    men like Comey tried to rig a coup and walked away.

    Comey played a key role in the 2016 victory of Donald Trump, by announcing the opening of an investigation of Hillary Clinton, even though this was ado about nothing (Trump famously promised to lock her up yet even the most loyal AJ could not find anything criminal). Not surprisingly this supposedly partisan anti trunk hack is so loathed by the Democrats.

    Blagoyvich indeed fell victim of the powerful FBI and DOJ and his punishment was indeed manifestly excessive. But the notion that FBI is partisan is fact free conspiracy theory. Blagojevich is a living testimony to that.

    In the current sore state of affairs many Trump allies were opposed to Trump’s pardon. Some on the partisan grounds but more because Blagojevich epitomizes the swamp. But Trump to his credit stuck to his convictions.

  6. Iampeter

    At the time of his drawn-out prosecution and conviction, I thought of the one-time Governor of Illinois as a garden variety corrupt Chicago pol. Since Donald Trump commuted his sentence earlier this week, I’ve read more about his alleged crimes. Conclusion?

    That you can’t think for yourself and mindlessly follow the mob first one way then the other?
    Seriously, just read back what you’re written here and think about how it sounds.

  7. C.L.

    I’ve read it back.
    Sounds just right.
    What I thought 12 years ago in 2008 is not what I think now.
    The senate seat sale charge was vacated in 2015 after an appeal filed in 2013.
    I thought you’d be pleased I was giving a Democrat a fair hearing.

  8. BorisG

    Selling senate seat was hilarious. At the time many thought it might be criminal but in today’s Trump’s America it is a normal thing.

  9. BorisG

    Left or right Blagojevich was corrupt and deserved to spend some time in jail. But his sentence was ridiculously excessive. Violent crims often get less. The system is fucked.

  10. BorisG

    But prosecutors are only part of the problem. Why do judges go along with such preposterous recommendations?

  11. BorisG

    Blago is now claiming he was a political prisoner.

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