Anybody who had any delusions that the federal government would significantly scale back its criminal case against one-time Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich should have their hopes dashed by Thursday’s actions in U.S. District Court.
As I see it, the fact that prosecutors are willing to let Rod’s brother, Rob, walk away without having to endure a re-trial on the four charges for which a jury could not reach a verdict merely means they’re focusing their attack on the younger brother.
THEY DON’T WANT anything detracting attention from their case against Rod. I fully expect they will come back with all the charges they tried to get convictions on before. They may even come up with more technicalities.
They want that conviction against a former governor. Robert Blagojevich had become a distraction they no longer wanted to deal with.
Robert was informed by his attorneys Thursday morning that he no longer faces criminal charges. He can now start putting his life back together. It may be easier for him than some other defendants who manage to avoid conviction – just because so much of the attention was focused on brother Rod.
He’s the one who will never be able to have anything resembling a typical life.
IT ALSO HELPS that Robert had long left the Chicago area. He gets to go back to Nashville, where he can become the local curiosity. “That’s the guy with the crazy brother who tried to ‘sell’ a Senate seat,” will be the whispers going around the country music capital city.
Besides, it really came across that Robert Blagojevich’s one mistake was saying “yes” when his brother asked for help with his gubernatorial campaign. Which prosecutors claimed put him on the periphery of illegal activity.
It never seemed that Blagojevich (as in Robert) was fully aware of what was happening (although ignorance of the law isn’t considered an excuse to break it) around him. Besides, I can understand the concept of coming to a brother’s aid if asked (and feeling pressure from a promise to his mother that he and Rod wouldn’t neglect each other).
Which is why it probably is for the best that this becomes, for the time being, a one-person criminal trial that likely will take place some time in 2011 (despite the partisan political fantasies of Republicans who want it to take place now, with a verdict some time the last week of October – and Election Day on Nov. 2).