crimesider

Blago's Bucks Could Slip Through Sticky Fingers

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Photo: Rod Blagojevich arrives at federal court for his arraignment in Chicago, April 14, 2009.

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) It was almost too good to be true.

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich parachuted out of office in disgrace after allegedly trying to sell the seat of then-senator Barack Obama, and was set to reap profits from an upcoming book, a radio gig, and even a recent surprise appearance covering an Elvis song at a party.

But now, the windfall of cash is set to blow away.

Under a new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois, elected public officials convicted of corruption would be barred from profiting from their crimes.

The legislation's sponsor, Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said that under the law signed Tuesday, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich could lose whatever cash he collects.

Franks said the law would apply if Blagojevich is convicted of the federal political corruption counts he faces.

The Illinois attorney general would need to go to court upon an official's conviction to try to grab the windfall. Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan's office said Tuesday it is prepared to enforce the law.

(CBS)
Photo: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appears on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

This comes as Blagojevich's attorneys say they'll need three more weeks to listen to secret recordings that will be featured prominently at his corruption trial.

Federal prosecutors and defense lawyers attended a 10-minute status hearing Wednesday where Judge James Zagel asked how preparations for a trial were going. Blagojevich didn't attend.

FBI wiretap tapes of then-governor Blagojevich on the phone before his Dec. 9 arrest are a cornerstone of the federal case.

Blagojevich is charged with scheming to sell or trade Obama's U.S. Senate seat and plotting to use political muscle to squeeze possible donors for campaign cash. He's denied any wrongdoing.

The next status hearing is set for Sept. 22. A trial isn't expected to start until next year.
  • Ryan Smith

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