Friday, 3 April 2009

'Obama sale' politician charged

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been indicted for corruption while in office - including trying to sell the Senate seat held by Barack Obama.
A grand jury indicted the 52-year-old Democrat on 16 felony counts, including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and making false statements to federal agents.

Blagojevich, who claims he did nothing wrong and is a victim of a political witch-hunt, has promised to fight the charges in court and has a book contract to tell his side. If convicted, he faces more than 300 years in prison and at least $4million in fines, according to the indictment.

Blagojevich, elected in 2002, was in his second term when the state legislature kicked him out of office nine weeks ago, following his arrest in December. The 75-page indictment alleges Blagojevich was at the centre of a conspiracy to seek cash, campaign contributions and jobs for himself and others.

They would allegedly be in exchange for state appointments, state business, legislation and pension fund investments. Among those actions were attempts to use his authority to appoint a US senator when Obama vacated his seat after being elected president in November, US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said.

The governor was caught on court-approved wiretaps describing the Senate seat as something so valuable "you just don't give it away for nothing". Blagojevich added he might appoint himself if he could not get anything for the seat.
Source: The Metro

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