Blago, Top Aides Indicted; 'I'm Innocent,' He Says

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2009 5:27 PM CDT
In this Jan. 29 file photo, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich talks to the media.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
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(Newser) – A federal grand jury today indicted Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges, the Chicago Tribune reports. Indicted along with the impeached Illinois governor were his brother, two former chiefs of staff, and two businessmen. Blagojevich, accused among other things of trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, issued a statement saying he's "saddened" but not surprised, and he vowed to clear his name. "I am innocent," he said.

The 19-count indictment goes beyond the Senate seat scandal, painting a picture of "wide-ranging" corruption in the governor's office. For example, it accuses Blagojevich of trying to extort cash from a congressman by withholding a grant to a school in his district. It also says convicted wheeler and dealer Tony Rezko arranged for Blago's wife, Patti, to receive real estate commissions even though she did no work. The government is seeking $188,370 from Blagojevich and may seize his home.