A federal grand jury in Chicago has handed up a 16-count indictment of former Illinois Gov. Rod “Nothing But Sunshine” Blagojevich, his brother Rob, two former chiefs of staff, a former Blago fundraiser, and an Illinois capital mover and shaker.
Here’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s detailed press release (.pdf) on the new indictment. Keep in mind, this indictment takes the place of the original complaint the feds filed against Blago last December — and it adds new and additional allegations, including the attempted extortion of an unidentified U.S. congressman.
Also worth noting that Fitz introduces Blago to RICO:
The RICO conspiracy count alleges that Blagojevich personally, the Office of the Governor of Illinois and Friends of Blagojevich were associated and, together, constituted the “Blagojevich Enterprise,” whose primary purpose was to exercise and preserve power over Illinois government for the financial and political benefit of Blagojevich, both directly and through Friends of Blagojevich, and for the financial benefit of his family members and associates. Blagojevich and Kelly, the only RICO conspiracy defendants, allegedly conspired with Monk, Cellini, Harris, Robert Blagojevich, Rezko and previously convicted cooperating defendant Stuart Levine, to conduct the Blagojevich Enterprise through a pattern of multiple acts of mail and wire fraud, extortion, attempted extortion and extortion conspiracy, and state bribery.
Running state government as a criminal enterprise. Blago didn’t mess around.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.