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Feds arrest Illinois governor for corruption

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Blagojevich appeared before US Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan Tuesday afternoon and was released on his own recognizance and a $4,500 bond, without making a statement.

Included in the FBI affidavit are charges that Blagojevich was caught on wiretaps conspiring to sell or trade Mr. Obama’s vacated US Senate seat. On the wiretaps, the affidavit asserts, the governor speculated about trading the Senate appointment for perks such as a large salary for himself, once he leaves office, at an organization affiliated with labor unions; an appointment for his wife on corporate boards, where she might be paid as much as $150,000 a year; promises of campaign funds; and a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

In one conversation about the Senate seat, Blagojevich allegedly told Mr. Harris and an adviser he needed to consider his family and that he is “financially” hurting. Harris responded that he and the adviser were weighing what would help the Blagojevich family’s “financial security.”

The affidavit also details discussions from last week in which Blagojevich is alleged to have said he might “get some [money] up front, maybe” from an individual the government identifies only as “Senate Candidate 5.”

Earlier, he was recorded claiming to have been approached by an emissary from that candidate, who said he would raise $500,000 for Blagojevich in exchange for the seat.

The charges, too, include allegations that Blagojevich and Harris schemed with others since the governor took office in 2003 to obtain benefits for himself, his family, and his campaign committee, repeating, in some cases the testimony of witnesses at the federal trial earlier this year of Antoin “Tony” Rezko. Mr. Rezko, a donor to Blagojevich’s campaign, was convicted for using his connections to state board appointees to demand kickbacks from businesses that wanted to do business with the state.

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