Monday, June 7, 2010

Former Gov Rod Blagojevich & Wife Patti Using Social Media Networks to Give Updates On Corruption Trial

Will primary defense be same as White House – “Just politics as usual.”?
Photo by Flickr
It’s good to have tweeple, especially when you could use a friend. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich and wife Patti are using their Twitter accounts @Governorrod and @pblagojevich to keep their followers updated on the proceedings and their feelings about the corruption trial now taking place in Chicago. They can also be friended on Facebook. Former Governor Blagojevich’s last post to his Facebook page June 2 was “Looking forward to the start of the trial tomorrow. We have the truth on our side.” There were 71 comments posted and 87 thumbs up “likes”. His tweet June 7 on Twitter was “looking forward to opening statements because that will unlock the truth... stay tuned.”

Since being arrested for federal corruption charges and removed as Governor of Illinois in 2009, Blagojevich has increased his media presence proclaiming his innocence in very public and creative ways. He became a host of a weekly talk radio program on WLS and was a cast member on Donald Trump’s popular Celebrity Apprentice television show on NBC recently. Donald Trump expressed he respected Blagojevich several times during the program. Many callers into the WLS program also asserted support for the former Governor. Most have found him to be eccentric, but many admire his fighting spirit. Just about everyone has found him to be entertaining under the strangest of circumstances.

Blagojevich has maintained he did nothing wrong and has always said he was railroaded by Democrats in Illinois who disagreed with him politically especially those wanting a large income tax increase in Illinois. He has expressed he looks forward to clearing his name every chance he has gotten to do so. His wife Patti has been a strong supporter of her husband. She has held on to her dignity and has tried to maintain a normal a life as possible for their children. Rod and Patti have two young daughters, 7 and 13; and they have done a wonderful job of protecting them from the media spotlight.

Blagojevich’s trial Judge Zagel completed juror questioning today, June 7. The defense attorney team led by Sam Adams, Jr. has 13 peremptory strikes possible and the prosecution team led by Reid Schar has 9. It is expected a jury of 12 jurors and up to 6 alternatives will be seated Tuesday, June 8, and opening statements will begin. The judge has not ruled yet on a request by Rod and Patti Blagojevich to attend their daughter’s graduation ceremony from grade school the afternoon of June 8 which could delay the trial start to Wednesday, April 9.

In some ways, the Democratic party and the infamous Chicago political machine will also be on trial. Among those Blagojevich has subpoenaed include Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a former Democratic Chicago district congressman), and White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett (someone President Obama has called “like a sister”). It is rumored President Obama wanted Valerie Jarrett to fill his open senate seat. Blagojevich attorneys tried to subpoena President Obama.

Considering the recent revelations of the White House staff initiating talks with Democrat Senate incumbent challengers in Pennsylvania and Colorado, it will be note-worthy to see if some, if not most, of Former Governor Blagojevich’s defense will center around “nothing but politics as usual”. The White House has used this sentiment to justify there is no need for a formal investigation and nothing problematic in their political talks and offerings. There are differences in the level and type of communication between the Blagojevich and White House incidences of course. Blagojevich had been under federal phone taps for months while conversations by White House staff and surrogates relating to these “politics as usual” phone calls remain private and without formal investigation.

Some Americans believe President Obama has brought Chicago-style politics to Washington. It will be interesting to see if what Former Governor Blagojevich did was in fact just considered Chicago-style politics as usual by most politicians involved in talks with him. Blagojevich is charged with racketeering, bribery conspiracy, extortion, and wire fraud.

It is understood many Democrats in Illinois and Washington are concerned to see what approximately 500 hours of taped phone conversations may reveal publicly in the trial. Voters from across the nation may be given a front-row seat to what “politics as usual” really means in detail. Much of the current voter anger has been around political cronyism and corruption in both major parties.

President Obama’s use of social media changed politics. I have a feeling Former Governor Blagojevich just may too. And “politics as usual” may be changed forever.

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