(Part 3: criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich and John Harris. It was posted 12-19-08, but has been back-dated to bump it down. Some emphasis has been added. Mentioned on this page: Friends of Blagojevich; Chicago Tribune editorial members, Wrigley Field; appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts, and access to state funds; senatorial appointment; court approval to intercept oral communications at two rooms at Friends of Blagojevich, personal office and conference room, and at his residence.)
II. SUMMARY OF PROBABLE CAUSE
13. Since approximately 2003, the government has been investigating allegations of illegal activity occurring in State of Illinois government as part of the administration of Governor ROD BLAGOJEVICH. As further detailed below, the investigation has developed evidence that:
(a) beginning not later than in or about 2002, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has conspired with multiple individuals, including, beginning not later than in or about October 2008, JOHN HARRIS, to devise and participate in a scheme, which used and contemplated the use of the mails and interstate wire communications, to defraud the State of Illinois and its residents of the honest services of ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS by corruptly using the office of Governor of the State of Illinois to obtain and attempt to obtain personal gain, including financial gain, for ROD BLAGOJEVICH and third parties with whom he is associated; and
(b) beginning no later than November 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS have corruptly solicited and demanded the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of ROD BLAGOJEVICH, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with State of Illinois financial assistance in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field. The evidence demonstrates that the corrupt conduct undertaken included but was not limited to the following:
a. Defendant ROD BLAGOJEVICH and at times defendant JOHN HARRIS, together with others, obtained and attempted to obtain financial benefits for ROD BLAGOJEVICH, members of the Blagojevich family, and third parties including Friends of Blagojevich, in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment, state contracts, and access to state funds;
b. Defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, together with others, offered to, and threatened to withhold from, the Tribune Company substantial state financial assistance in connection with Wrigley Field, which assistance ROD BLAGOJEVICH believed to be worth at least $100 million to the Tribune Company, for the private purpose of inducing the controlling shareholder of the Tribune Company to fire members of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper owned by the Tribune Company, who were responsible for editorials critical of ROD BLAGOJEVICH;
c. Defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, together with others, attempted to use ROD BLAGOJEVICH's authority to appoint a United States Senator for the purpose of obtaining personal benefits for ROD BLAGOJEVICH, including, among other things, appointment as Secretary of Health & Human Services in the President-elect's administration, and alternatively, a lucrative job which they schemed to induce a union to provide to ROD BLAGOJEVICH in exchange for appointing as senator an individual whom ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS believed to be favored by union officials and their associates.
14. As detailed below, in early October 2008, the government obtained information that ROD BLAGOJEVICH was accelerating his corrupt fund raising activities to accumulate as much money as possible before the implementation of ethics legislation on January 1, 2009, that would severely curtail ROD BLAGOJEVICH's ability to raise money from individuals and entities conducting business with the State of Illinois. Based in part on the recently obtained information, and as part of the investigation into ROD BLAGOJEVICH's corrupt fund raising efforts, in October 2008 the government obtained court approval to intercept oral communications in certain locations in the offices of Friends of Blagojevich. In addition, as part of its investigation, the government obtained court approval to intercept wire communications on the home phone of ROD BLAGOJEVICH. Specifically:
a. On October 21, 2008, Chief Judge James F. Holderman signed an order authorizing the interception of oral communications for a 30-day period in two rooms at the Friends of Blagojevich office: the personal office of ROD BLAGOJEVICH and the conference room. On the morning of October 22, 2008, the FBI began intercepting oral communications in those rooms. On November 19, 2008, Chief Judge James F. Holderman signed an order authorizing the continued interception of oral communications in the two rooms at the Friends of Blagojevich office for a second 30-day period.
b. On October 29, 2008, Chief Judge James Holderman entered an Order authorizing the interception of wire communications to and from a landline telephone subscribed to ROD BLAGOJEVICH's home address and used by ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others. The interception of wire communications to and from ROD BLAGOJEVICH's home phone began on the evening of October 29, 2008. On November 26, 2008, Acting Chief Judge Matthew F. Kennelly signed an order authorizing the continued interception of wire communications on ROD BLAGOJEVICH's home phone for a second 30-day period.
15. The remainder of this affidavit first sets out certain information obtained prior to the initiation of the court-authorized interceptions, relating to allegations that ROD BLAGOJEVICH solicited and obtained campaign contributions in exchange for official actions as Governor. Next, this affidavit details certain information obtained during the course of the court-authorized interceptions and relating to the crimes alleged in the attached criminal complaint. This information, in turn, is divided into sections relating to three topics:
(a) efforts to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions by ROD BLAGOJEVICH;
(b) efforts to use state funds for the private purpose of inducing the Tribune Company to fire Chicago Tribune editorial board members critical of ROD BLAGOJEVICH by making their firing a condition of state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with Wrigley Field; and
(c) efforts to obtain personal financial benefits for ROD BLAGOJEVICH in return for his appointment of a United States Senator.
Footnote 1. Minimization procedures were implemented during the interception of conversations at the Friends of Blagojevich offices and over phones. At times, these minimization procedures were stricter than required under law so as to avoid intercepting certain potentially privileged conversations.