Monday, December 15, 2008

Can Blago Afford An Attorney?

If Gov. Rod Blagoyevich decides to stay and fight criminal charges leveled against him by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, it's going to cost a lot of money. The governor has already spent $2 million to pay Winston & Strawn for work related to the government's investigation of his administration over the past several years. News reports indicate that Winston & Strawn stopped doing work for the governor recently, and that he still owes the firm $750,000. Former Gov. George Ryan paid the same firm millions to defend him against the government, but the firm had to write off many millions more in unpaid bills. Although there was a lot of buzz over the weekend about the governor meeting with high profile defense attorney Ed Genson on Saturday, Genson told the Chicago Tribune he has not yet been retained by the governor. While the governor has about $3.6 million in his campaign account, the Tribune report notes that money might be frozen by the government as it did in Ryan's case. No attorney is going to take the governor's case without a substantial retainer paid up front. In the end, money could play as much of a role in whether the governor stays and fights the charges or resigns and looks to make a deal with the prosecutor.

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