Key dates in Blagojevich case
By NATASHA KORECKI Federal Courts Reporter / firstname.lastname@example.org March 14, 2012 7:06PM
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and wife, Patti, leave home for the Federal Building sentening, Tuesday, December 6, 2011 . | John H. White~Sun-Times
Updated: March 14, 2012 7:42PM
Dec. 9, 2008 — Federal agents arrest then Gov. Blagojevich at 6 a.m. at his Ravenswood Manor home on Chicago’s Northwest Side. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald releases the criminal complaint against Blagojevich, which says the governor was secretly recorded saying that the opportunity to appoint someone to fill the U.S.Senate seat left vacant by the election of President Barack Obama was “f------golden.” Fitzgerald describes the governor’s conduct as a political corruption “crime spree” that would have “Lincoln rolling over in his grave.”
Dec. 30, 2008 — Blagojevich riles the political world by naming former Illinois state comptroller and attorney general Roland Burris to fill President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.
Jan. 9, 2009 — The Illinois House of Representatives votes 114-1 to impeach Blagojevich, with Rep. Deb Mell — Blagojevich’s sister-in-law — casting the lone dissenting vote.
Jan. 30, 2009 — Blagojevich becomes the first Illinois governor ever to be booted out of office, after the Illinois Senate votes 59-0 to oust him following an impeachment trial.
June 2009 — The ex-governor’s wife, Patti Blagojevich, travels to Costa Rica and completes challenges including eating a tarantula as a contestant on the reality TV show “I’m a Celebrity — Get Me Out of Here!”
July 8, 2009 — H arris pleads guilty to wire fraud, the first co-defendant to accept a plea deal and agree to testify against Blagojevich.
Sept. 12, 2009 — Kelly commits suicide days after pleading guilty to tax and mail fraud charges. Kelly had refused to cooperate with prosecutors. Cellini gets a separate trial.
March 14, 2010 — Blagojevich appears with performers Cyndi Lauper, Bret Michaels and others on TV’s “Celebrity Apprentice” with Donald Trump and is eventually “fired” for a lack of leadership and technology skills.
June 2010 — Blagojevich and his brother go on trial. The ex-governor faces 24 charges, ranging from racketeering to making false statements.
Aug. 17, 2010 — In an embarrassment to prosecutors, the first Blagojevich jury deadlocks on 23 of the 24 counts, convicting the ex-governor only of lying to the FBI. Prosecutors say they’ll retry Blagojevich.
April 2011 — Blagojevich’s retrial begins. Prosecutors pare down their case significantly, dropping racketeering charges.
May 2011 — Blagojevich testifies in his own defense, giving long-winded diatribes and apologizing for his language on tape: “I’m an effin’ jerk.” Blagojevich — testifying for seven days — fumbles at prosecutor Reid Schar’s opening question: “You are a convicted liar, right?”
June 2011 — The jury convicts Blagojevich of 17 of 20 counts, including the charge that he conspired to sell Obama’s Senate seat and another involving shaking down potential campaign contributors in exchange for official actions.
November 2011 — Rezko is sentenced to 10½ years in prison.
Dec. 7, 2011 — Blagojevich is sentenced to 14 years in prison.