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Blago's brother: Fitzgerald resignation overdue

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Robert Blagojevich, who was the focus of Patrick Fitzgerald's prosecution, called his resignation long overdue.

The older brother of convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich believes that the long-serving U.S. attorney abused his power by prosecuting him and his brother. He accused Ftzgerald's office of being unfair and not serving the interest of justice.

"He had been in office for years and had amassed a lot of power," Robert Blagojevich said. "I believe he was allowed to override people. He did anything he could to get his point and prosecution, even using me"

Robert Blagojevich was in town Thursday to speak at the Chicago Bar Association. He is one the few indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald's prosecutors to avoid conviction. More than 95 percent of those indicted were convicted under the outgoing US attorney.

On Thursday, Robert Blagojevich revealed more about how he says federal prosecutors tilt the scale of justice in their favor.

"When you have the unlimited resources of the United States government coming after you, you don't stand a very good chance," Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich's speech outlined all the ways he thinks Fitzgerald's prosecutors crossed the line. Among them: Just days after the first Blagojevich trial began, Robert says the government subpoenaed seven years of his tax records, tightening their vice even more. He says they also implied he might be able to trade his brother's freedom for his own.

"I understood it to mean...get Rod to plead to something to minimize the legal jeopardy I was in, and I never asked him to do that and never would have," Blagojevich said.

"Do we bring cases with the idea that we want people to talk to ferret out corruption? Absolutely we do, said Fitzgerald, "and that's part of the system, and we shouldn't pretend that's not part of the system."

Since 2005, Fitzgerald's partner in crime-fighting has been FBI special agent in charge Rob Grant.

"This isn't powder puff. This is about people's lives," said Grant. "This is about getting to the truth. And sometimes getting to the truth takes you through other individuals, and if those individuals are protecting bad public officials and bad characters, brother or not, I think it's fair."

After a jury in the first trial couldn't reach a verdict, the US attorney's office dropped its charges against Robert Blagojevich. Those close to Fitzgerald say that os just one example of how he does temper his pursuit of justice with mercy.

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