The Daily Show


This is shaping up to be a Rod Blagojevich-filled week. First came the former Illinois governor’s surprise cameo appearance Monday on “The Daily Show”; then, on Tuesday, his lawyers withdrew his request to travel abroad a month before his retrial is scheduled to begin.

Now comes today’s development: Blagojevich’s attorneys moved to have their client sentenced on the charge he was convicted on last year (making false statements to an FBI agent) and have the remaining 20 charges he faces dismissed, partly because the attorneys haven’t been paid in months and they don’t have the funds at their disposal that Blagojevich’s first defense team did. They say Blagojevich would drop his appeal of his lone conviction but not admit guilt in doing so, as long as the federal government drops the rest of its case against him.

There is no way prosecutors will drop the charges against Blagojevich — especially the accusation that he tried to sell a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. This latest motion from Blagojevich is just the latest way for him to try to garner sympathy from people (including potential jurors): poor Blagojevich doesn’t have enough money to afford a defense beyond what the state can afford to give him. Guess what, Blago? If you’re such a man of the people, you deserve to get the same defense as the average person in the criminal justice system. And if you want to avoid your trial, come to a plea agreement with the prosecution beforehand.

Blagojevich’s “motion to dismiss the second trial and proceed to sentencing in the interest of justice and saving taxpayer funds” can be read in its entirety here.

Blagojevich’s second trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday, April 20.

I’m filing this report from my hidden lair along the border between the dangerous Northern Province and the rest of Illinois …

For the sake of those who didn’t see “The Daily Show” Monday evening, I must mention that during a segment wherein correspondent John Oliver searches for the “Wisconsin 14,” Oliver travels through the “Northern Province” of Illinois (which, judging by the “Daily Show” map, appears to be everywhere in the state north of Interstate 80) and calls it a “savage, frozen territory.”

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whom Oliver referred to as a “notorious former warlord,” made a surprise appearance, providing the segment with its (bleeping) golden moment. In a nutshell, Oliver asks Blagojevich if he knows where the Wisconsin 14 are, Blagojevich says he doesn’t, and Blagojevich issues a statement of support for the Wisconsin 14.

“These lawmakers standing up for working people, and the fundamental rights of working people to bargain collectively with their employers — that is (bleeping) golden,” Blagojevich says.

Also, Oliver asks Blagojevich if the convicted ex-governor is allowed to “just walk around here.”

The segment can be found here on NBC Chicago’s website.

In other, more serious Blagojevich news today, the former governor withdrew his request to travel to England to speak to the Oxford Union, a student society at Oxford University. Blagojevich likely would have had to pay for his international airfare out of his own pocket, which would have created a new problem for him since he is using public funds to pay for his defense.

Whether Judge James Zagel would’ve granted permission is unknown, though he did reject a similar request in 2009 when Blagojevich wanted to appear on the TV reality show “I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” (Instead, his wife, Patti Blagojevich, appeared on the show. I blogged here at The Bread Line about Patti’s jungle adventures on the show, and you can find those posts here.)

I also learned today that Chicago Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen are working on a book about Blagojevich. Coen’s last book, “Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob,” was widely praised. I already knew that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jimmy Breslin also is working on a Blagojevich book, with Blagojevich’s blessing — which means Breslin’s book will be the BS version of the Blagojevich story.

Unfortunately, Blagojevich’s publicist Glenn Selig previously said the former governor also would like to write another book. Please, no.