Arrest, ouster and now author’s tour?
Former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich blames overzealous prosecutors and political enemies for his downfall in a new book that offers glimpses of his rocky six-year tenure and his upcoming defense against federal corruption charges.
“The Governor” describes his arrest on charges that included trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama last year. In keeping with the governor’s long-held position that he’s been victimized by rivals and “unethical” prosecutors, Blagojevich writes that his guiding thought in selecting a new senator was, “How much do I love the people of Illinois?”
After his arrest in December, Blagojevich was impeached, convicted by the state Senate and ousted from office. His corruption trial is scheduled for next year.
In the book, published by Phoenix, Blagojevich blasts U.S. Atty. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who told reporters that the governor had been arrested to stop a “crime spree.”
“Mr. Fitzgerald didn’t stop a crime spree,” Blagojevich writes. “He stopped me from doing a lot of good for a lot of people.”
Blagojevich calls his efforts to pick a U.S. senator “routine.”
“I never intended to sell the Senate seat,” he writes. “I was merely engaged in the ordinary and routine politicking that frequently accompanies a significant appointment by the governor.”
Prosecutors allege that Blagojevich was caught on FBI wiretaps discussing what he could get in exchange for the seat, such as a job or campaign contributions.
Blagojevich writes that he appointed Roland Burris in part because of Burris’ famously big ego. No one but Burris would accept the appointment and fight to be seated under the circumstances, Blagojevich says.
Burris’ office declined to comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.