One year ago Friday, Rod Blagojevich left for prison — and the circus left town
BY NATASHA KORECKI Political Reporter @natashakorecki March 14, 2013 7:06PM
Updated: April 16, 2013 4:20PM
A year ago, Rod Blagojevich stood on the balcony of his Ravenswood Manor home, waving to the throngs of people packed onto his front lawn.
Media helicopters hovered overhead.
So-called supporters, some with kids in tow, descended on his home A handful carried signs: “Free Blago!”
The former governor’s anti-hero muscle was fully-flexed as he penned autographs, gave Spanish-language TV interviews and delivered his last news conference from his yard.
Three times, his youngest daughter emerged from the front door, asking her dad to return inside the home.
Blagojevich stayed put, basking in the anti-glory.
The next day, he reported to prison to begin a 14-year sentence after he was convicted of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat — an appointment opportunity the former governor famously described as “f------ golden.”
On Blagojevich’s way to Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in Colorado, film crews accompanied him on the plane, capturing his on-board movements, which were few.
Crews then drove beside his car on the highway, cameras rolling all along and carrying the non-action live.
Video caught him at a burger joint before he went to the big house, back into the car and up until the very last moment his attorneys, Aaron Goldstein and Shelly Sorosky, walked him into the Colorado prison.
Since then, the silence has been deafening.
The would-be supporters? We haven’t heard their demands for his release.
As for Blagojevich, we haven’t heard from him either.
Not for an entire year.
No blockbuster interview. No satellite appearances from prison on the late-night talk shows he once toured pre-conviction. Aside from a few blurbs about his job washing dishes and his fitness, the Blago mania that snowballed upon itself — yes, media included — quickly went dark when its chief spokesman was finally out of reach.
If mob mentality once ruled the Blagojevich story, the mob broke up, including the sign wavers, and found other people to chase.
Blagojevich wasn’t known for listening to his lawyers; he’s the defendant who insisted on taking the stand and at times objected to questions from the witness chair.
Is his silence now finally a sign that he’s battling the last leg of his legal battle through the courts — not the airwaves?
Goldstein had no comment on why the former governor who never could keep quiet has now been mum.
“He’s holding up remarkably and is very optimistic for his appeal,” Goldstein said.
Blagojevich’s case hasn’t gone away though. And if there’s reason for media reflection, it’s hopefully on the meatier issues underlying the former governor’s criminal trial, the others who contributed to his — and their own — demise and for those still unaccountable for corruption in our state.
The former governor’s lawyers have until mid-April to file an appellate brief. There are already rumblings that the defense may ask for an extension. Sorosky says the case is complex and an appeal could focus on a series of rulings by U.S. District Judge James Zagel, with lawyers arguing his decisions blocked them from presenting their full defense.
Don’t be surprised, however, if Blagojevich churns out another book or soon breaks his silence in his typical spectacular fashion.
Until then, let the L.A.-styled helicopter chase scenes stay in the golden state and remind our state — and the former governor — of how sometimes it is silence that is f------ golden.