Five Years After Pay-to-Play Gang Tried to Get Fitz Fired, Blagojevich Tries Again

IMO, Blago’s been playing his whole post-arrest period about as well as could be expected, up to and including making the Senate Majority Leader look like an amateur. But today’s latest move may well backfire.

Blago’s lawyers just filed (in a motion they tried to keep sealed) to get Fitz dismissed from his case.

Lawyers for Gov. Rod Blagojevich have filed a sealed motion to remove U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald and his assistants from prosecution of the case against the governor, a federal judge disclosed today.

U.S. District Chief Judge James Holderman ordered the defense today to file that motion publicly.

After today’s court session, Sheldon Sorosky, a Blagojevich lawyer, said the defense wanted Fitzgerald’s removed "because of the statements made in the announcement of the arrest of Gov. Blagojevich."

Sorosky was asked if the defense believed Fitzgerald used inflammatory language in the announcement. "The motion speaks for itself," Sorosky said.

Mind you, I’m sure Blago can find all manner of discredited shill who will argue that Fitzgerald spoke improperly at his press conference announcing Blago’s arrest. But that doesn’t change the fact that Blago is now asking for something his alleged confederates tried to do over four years ago–get Fitz fired (or at least removed from this case). The same Rezko trial witnesses that form the foundation of Fitz’s case against Blago, after all, also testified that the gang tried to get Fitz fired.

In a hearing before court began, prosecutors said they hoped to call Ali Ata, the former Blagojevich administration official who pleaded guilty to corruption yesterday, to the stand.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Carrie Hamilton said she believed Ata would testify to conversations Ata had with his political patron, Rezko, about working to pull strings to kill the criminal investigation into Rezko and others when it was in its early stages in 2004.

"[Ata] had conversations with Mr. Rezko about the fact that Mr. Kjellander was working with Karl Rove to have Mr. Fitzgerald removed," Hamilton told U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve.

The one member of the pay-to-play gang who has not yet publicly admitted they tried to take Fitz out–Rezko–is, by all appearances–getting more cooperative by the day.

 So while maybe I’m misreading how this latest play will go over, I gotta say the optics of it stinks. Blago’s alleged accomplices have been gunning for Fitz for years. And now, post-arrest, the first thing he does is try once more to get Fitz fired?

  1. randiego says:

    hey, the guy is obviously batshit insane and a total disgrace as a Democrat and a Public Servant, but I am digging his hair in an “Osmond” sort of way and his kicking Harry “Bullseye” Reid’s ass would be extremely entertaining if it weren’t my party looking incredibly pathetic at a critical time in our history.

    i dare the sentence police to come get me!

  2. Peterr says:

    It’s the Elmer Fudd/Wile E. Coyote approach.

    Sure, it hasn’t worked for him the last hundred times he’s tried it, but he’s sure that TODAY will be different . . .

  3. Slothrop says:

    Hairdo boy may seem to be an idiot but before we underestimate him remember that 1)he remains the Governor of Illinois and 2) his appointment to the U.S. Senate stands despite powerful opposition.

  4. freepatriot says:

    let’s see, either Patrick Fitzgerald is a criminal, or rod the blagoff is a criminal

    now that we got competing accusations, so let’s go the evidence


    and in the opposing corner ???

    has Patrick Fitzgerald ever had a parking ticket ???

    spiting on the sidewalk, jay walking, ???

    whistling on a sunday, maybe ???

    Fitz’ little PR stunts might be prosecutorial misconduct, political brinksmanship, or obstruction of justice (in a worst case scenario)

    but we got A WHOLE SHITLOAD OF EVIDENCE that says we shouldn’t trust blagoff as far as we could throw him

    hum, what to do ???

  5. bmaz says:

    I don’t know whether I would have done it or not; sure would consider it though. A pretty common ploy, but one that rarely pays off. I don’t see it being particularly harmful to the defense in the long run.

    • bmaz says:

      I don’t know. If I had alleged unethical conduct, then yes I would have made the good faith effort to try to do that behind the scenes. And, really, to some extent, that is what you are alleging I assume (sounds like they are making a Nifong type of allegation as to inappropriate pretrial public comments on the evidence). To be honest, I don’t think Pat’s presser comments were to the level of being unethical or grounds for removal as government’s counsel; but I do think they were excessive and uncalled for to some extent. Discretion is the better part of valor; he could have exercised a tad more. That said, this is going nowhere.

  6. tejanarusa says:

    Hmmm. I’ve had occasional doubts about Fitz’s “good-guy-ness”–but if you can judge a person’s worth by their enemies, well….If so many obvious crooks are trying to get you removed from their cases or your job, you are perhaps a very effective prosecutor????

    And a sealed motion – come on, that’s just calling attention to yourself. What’d they expect?

    • bmaz says:

      Naw, there are legal and professional comity reasons that could possibly explain it; I don’t think you can jump to a conclusion one way or another.

  7. Mary says:

    8 – I’d pretty much agree on that. I don’t think Blagojevich’s lawyers would be doing a good job if they didn’t even raise it (it was a pretty heated conf) and they showed decent prof ethics by making it sealed to try to prevent making the charges a press event.

    I can’t imagine they will get anything from this, though.

    I’m wondering what Donald Vance thinks, if the IL USA and FBI crew were so much more shocked at what Blago tried to pull than over what happened to him when he served as their informant.

  8. pdaly says:

    “…but I am digging his hair in an “Osmond” sort of way”

    I was thinking same time frame but maybe different bodyframe: how about Homer Simpson as he appears in flashbacks to his glory days with full head of hair?

  9. MartyDidier says:

    You’re in error with calling them the “Pay-to-Play Gang”.

    They are really known around Chicago as “The Combine”, or better known as “The Shadow Government” but best to be called “The Political Mafia”. How I know is because I was in a family for more than 26 years who are directly involved with them.

    Meet the family:
    Mexico drug plane used for US ‘rendition’ flights: report – Sep 4, 2008…..-xUcQEZbVg

    Clyde O’Connor is my ex-sister-in-law’s brother. Her husband is my ex-wife’s brother and Money Man behind Clyde. The two of them discussed starting the air shipping business in Florida while at my house right in front of me in the 90’s. Please note the CIA connection. The family often bragged about being a CIA Asset when questioned as to why they aren’t concerned about being prosecuted even if it were murder. Clyde is still at large to this day. Also, Clydes plane was part of a fleet of more than 100 planes.

    This ISN’T a few people in Illinois including the Governor, it’s much larger and includes many many more that go all the way up and into the Federal Government. How I know… well again I was in that family for more than 26 years, that’s how!

    Marty Didier,
    Northbrook, IL