Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kass: Obama The Big Winner After Blago Decides Not To Put On A Defense

For months former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich told anyone who would listen to his drivel that he would take the stand in his own defense when the government tried him on public corruption charges. When that time came this past week, Blagojevich opted not to take the stand. In fact, his defense lawyers aren't calling a single witness because he claims the government proved his innocence during their case against him. The Chicago Tribune's John Kass describes why Blago's decision to remain silent allowed President Barack Obama to breathe a deep sigh of relief:

Big winner. Picture the leader of the free world, walking the family dog, Bo, on the White House lawn, the plastic bag in the pocket, like some perfect TV dad.

He hears the news that Blagojevich has rested his case and won't testify or call any witnesses.

And that's when — in my purely fictional mental tableau of the president waiting for Bo to do business on the lawn — Obama fishes into his pocket for a smoke and lights up.

Our president takes a big drag, exhales with a satisfied sigh. Ahhhhh.

Why is our president satisfied?

Because with Blago cutting short his defense, Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, won't be called as a defense witness to talk about how the Obama White House transcended the old broken politics of the past by haggling with Blago over the Obama Senate seat.

As a lawyer, Obama would know that without a defense case, there's no way that the president's old real estate fairy, Tony Rezko, would come up as a prosecution rebuttal witness.

"My man," he says, thinking of Dead Meat, as he looks to the west, toward Chicago, blowing smoke through that famous smile.

"My man."

Then he and Rahm enjoy some celebratory mojitos in the Rose Garden and toast Blago again.
Soon after U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald swooped in and had then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrested for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat, my fellow blogger Debbie Schlussel noted a source in the Chicago law enforcement community who told her Fitzgerald had more than enough evidence to bring charges against Blagojevich months before his post-election move in 2008, but he deliberately avoided bringing charges against Blago to avoid harming the presidential campaign of Obama. Here's what Schlussel quoted her source as saying at the time:

I know for a fact FBI Chicago had enough to indict Blagojevich in June. They were 2 weeks from indictment in June based on cooperation and testimony at the Stu Levine trial. Levine was Tony Rezko’s bud, fund raiser for Blago, and our President-Elect.

I wonder what took them so long? My guess is when it started to look like a lock for Obama’s nomination by the Dems, someone at the U.S. Attorney’s Office put it all on hold, so as not to spoil “The Annointed One’s” shot.

I reacted skeptically to Schlussel's take initially, but as the story of the Senate seat bargaining played out during Blago's trial, it clearly appeared from the evidence presented in the case that the Obama folks were in the game playing in typical Chicago political fashion. The timing of Blago's arrest indeed may have prevented the new administration from getting caught red-handed in the act, not that it stopped them from later trying to buy Senate seats in Pennsylvania and Colorado in this year's election buy offering candidates not of their choosing federal jobs.

While so much of the criminal activity in which Blago was engaged as governor involved convicted political fixer Tony Rezko, who was actually much closer to Obama than he was to Blago, he was nowhere to be seen in the government's case against him. Instead, the government opted to use employees of Rezko for testimony. We know that Rezko has been cooperating with federal investigators since his conviction more than two years ago because the government has still not sentenced him in that case. As Blago's trial began, the feds quietly moved Rezko to a prison in Wisconsin instead of keeping him in the Chicago lock-up where he had been held. It looks to me like Fitzgerald actually took a chance on weakening his case against Blago in order to protect Obama from the obvious political corruption in which he was engaged. I still have a lot of respect for Fitzgerald, but it really bothers me that he may have rolled over for him in an effort to keep one of the highest profile prosecutor jobs in the country.


Downtown Indy said...

Can you even imagine what it would cost to get Blago to NOT talk about himself? Surely a lot more than simply a lawyer saying 'no.'

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Or the promise of waking up with a horse's head in your bed.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It really isn't a surprise he didn't testify, Downtown Indy. In his impeachment trial, he refused to answer questions of the Senate during his trial or put on a defense.

Downtown Indy said...

Chicago politics: Voter fraud in the form of 'invisible ink' pens at a polling place. There was NO ink, it was a plastic 'stylus.'

The news anchors call it 'a lighter moment' and 'funny yet true' while the city's spokesperson has the gall to say there was no malicious intent and it was just 'utter stupidity.'

Gary R. Welsh said...

That invisible ink stylus fiasco in the Chicago election was unbelievable. To think election workers would actually tell voters there was such a thing and then to over-ride the voting machines when they refused to accept the obviously unmarked ballots. I liked it when the election's official said there was no fraud intended--just "utter stupidity."

Marycatherine Barton said...

In Wayne Madsen's report of July 19, entitled "White House ramps up damage control over Obama Chicago gay history", he noted that Judge James Zagel hade denied the defense's requeswt for al the government's wiretaps to bew played. GThe tapes, as previously reported by Wayne Madsen Report, contain some earthy references to Obama's and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's homosexual habits.
This week, on line, Madsen stated that he thinks that Blago's decision not to testify was a reaction to this ruling.

Wayne also reported that his sources have told him that on the wiretaps are references to the fact that BP pays for Emanuel's apartment in DC, and other incriminating info about the two of them, the president and the former congressman who wants to be mayor of Chicago. Now, in an exclusive interview with THE GLOBE, Norma Jean Young, the 76 year old mother of the late Trinity United Church of Christ choir director Donald Young, has spoken out and declared that persons trying to protect Obama murdered her son at the height of the 2007 Democratic presidential primaryk, to protyecft Obama from embarassing revelations about his homosexual relationship with her son, whose bullet-ridden body wasfound in his Chicago apartmengt, in what appeared to be an assassination-style slaying.

Mrs. Young said that she has been warned that her life is in danger, and she plans to relocate. I certainly am uncertain about Blago's state of mind, but when you get a chance check out THE GLOBE's, "Mom fears son was slain to protect secrets of pal who became president".

Marycatherine Barton said...

And, isn't it true that the court refused to allow Blago to call Rezko to testify? He would have made Blago look like an angel, in comparison to Obama and Rahm.

I am not impressed with Fitzgerald, although I do not know that Madsen is right to write that Fitz works for the Bush enterprises. Maybe Fitzgerald should sue Wayne, lol.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I saw that Donald Young's mother was speaking out publicly for the first time about his murder on the eve of the Iowa caucus. The mother confirms her son had a very close relationship with Obama that made others jealous. If he was indeed talking to Larry Sinclair about his relationship with Obama as Sinclair claimed during the 2008 presidential campaign and as he wrote in his book, then there is plenty of reason to be suspicious about Young's murder, which the Chicago police have never solved. Wayne Madsen had an extensive report earlier on his discovery that both Obama and Emanuel had been known to frequent a gay bathhouse in Chicago prior to their rise to political fame. In an earlier trial, it was confirmed that Stuart Levine held all night gay sex and drug-filled parties both in Chicago and Springfield. Although Levine had been a Republican associated with former Illinois Gov. George Ryan before he was sent to federal prison on corruption charges, he quickly teamed up with Rezko in helping Blago and Obama in their schemes to enrich and empower themselves. There's a lot of damaging information that could have come out of a full blown trial in this case. As I said, the government clearly limited its public corruption case against Blago to protect Obama and others.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Thanks, and if you check out home page this date, under National News, WMR links to a news item on this and makes very caustic remarks. In case you miss them, let me quote: "Blagojevich lawyer threatened by corrupt US Judge Zagel with contempt if he mentions the names of government-suppressed witnesses like Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine. That just gets too close to Obama and his accomplice, Emanuel.

...the trial against Blago is a political show trial with a corrupt US Attorney -- Patrick Fitzgerald -- and a corrupt judge. There is also a possible tainted jury as witnessed by Fitzgerald's past corrupt practices."