Blago Book To Expose Politics' "Dark Side"

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich waves to his supporters after talking to the media outside of his Chicago home, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009. Blagojevich was thrown out of office Thursday without a single lawmaker rising in his defense, ending a nearly two-month crisis that erupted with his arrest on charges he tried to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. Blagojevich becomes the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed by impeachment. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) AP Photo/Nam Y Huh

Rod Blagojevich, the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed from office by impeachment, signed a deal Monday to write a book "exposing the dark side of politics," his publicist said.

Blagojevich signed a "six-figure" deal to write a book for Phoenix Books, to be released in October, publicist Glenn Selig said in a news release.

Blagojevich, ousted after his arrest by federal authorities on corruption charges that include allegations he tried to sell President Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat, plans to explain how he selected Obama's successor. Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing.

"He also plans on exposing the dark side of politics that he witnessed in both the state and national level," according to Selig's release.

Blagojevich will write about his rise in politics, including his election to Congress and his election and re-election as governor, Selig said. The former governor also promises to detail discussions and other factors that ultimately led him — three weeks after his arrest — to name Roland Burris to the Senate seat.

Burris has since come under fire after revealing he had more contact with Blagojevich allies than he originally told lawmakers and that he tried to raise money for the then-governor. A Burris spokesman declined to comment on the book Monday, as did a spokesman for Blagojevich's successor, Gov. Pat Quinn. Randall Samborn, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, also had no comment.

Selig said in the release that there were "some people in high places" who tried to prevent the book deal. But he did not elaborate and his office said Monday he would not discuss the contention further.

Blagojevich "does not intend to pull any punches and will reveal information and provide insights that will at times be embarrassing to himself as well as to others," according to Selig's release.

That had at least one former prosecutor suggesting Blagojevich better be careful.

Steven Miller, former chief of special prosecutions in the U.S. attorney's office, said "any potential defendant would be well advised to have his attorney screen the book to make sure there were no admissions that could be used against him at a trial.

Told the book was touted as containing embarrassing material, Miller noted "being embarrassed and being incriminated are two different concepts. There can be material that is embarrassing but not incriminating."

Miller said he "would not automatically say no" if one of his own clients announced plans to write a book, noting upsides could include improving Blagojevich's image and raising money he might need for his defense.

Aside from the "six-figure" description, the terms of Blagojevich's book deal were not disclosed. But the former governor is facing the prospect of an expensive criminal trial after losing his $177,000-a-year job. His wife also recently was fired from a $100,000-a-year job.

Selig said Blagojevich chose Phoenix Books, run by Beverly Hills, Calif.-based independent publisher Michael Viner. Viner's previous releases include a memoir by disgraced New York Times reporter, Jayson Blair; a tell-all by four Hollywood call girls; and a book by Armin Meiwes, the German man who admitted killing and eating an acquaintance.

"The governor chose to go with a large independent company because he wanted to tell his story without any restrictions over content that might've come with a major publishing house," Selig said.

Phoenix Books did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

Steve Brown, spokesman for Blagojevich's chief nemesis in the Legislature, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, was dismissive of the book deal Monday.

"I think giving the guy more attention just causes his mental health problems to flourish," Brown said.
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