Blagojevich spends day at work
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The governor was at home in Ravenswood Manor on his 52nd birthday but any celebration has been drowned out by calls from around the country that he step down.
Accompanied by a detail of state troopers, the governor arrived home on Wednesday night with his children in tow. It was several hours after he left the Thompson Center, sending his car ahead as a decoy while he slipped out another exit.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich returned to work Wednesday, as ABC News sources ID'd Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. as one of the unnamed people in the criminal complaint filed against the governor.
Blagojevich is out on bond after being charged with a list of illegal activities, among them, trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat.
On Wednesday, he was back in his Chicago office, a day after being arrested on federal corruption charges.
And Jesse Jackson Jr. is reportedly one of the Senate candidates referred to in the federal criminal complaint against the governor.
Business as usual - that's the image Rod Blagojevich wanted to project one day after the feds portrayed him as "Governor Greed."
"He is in his office at the JRTC today working," said Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero. "The day-to-day operation doesn't change nor is it affected. There are still critical state issues that he wants to address - things like dealing with the current financial crisis, looking at ways to keep people in their homes and finding ways to create jobs - and will continue to do so as governor."
One key issue is naming a replacement for Barack Obama in the United States Senate. It is a process now totally tainted.
"I received a call from the United States Attorney's Office yesterday that shared with me that I am not a target of this investigation, that they would like me to come in and share with them everything I know about this process. And I am more than willing and able to do that after I consult with counsel," Jackson said early Wednesday.
Jackson met with Blagojevich Monday about the Senate seat. He claims the governor never asked him for campaign cash or other favors.
The federal case against the governor, though, claims at least one unnamed Senate hopeful was told he or she would have to pay to play.
"There was no one on my staff whatsoever authorized to serve as an emissary to me with the governor of the state of Illinois. I have been informed by the United States attorney that I am not a target of this investigation. I consider that to be a significant relief," Jackson said.
Whether it's the Senate seat, state money for Wrigley Field or Children's Memorial Hospital, the feds say they have countless conversations in which the governor is heard on tape demanding personal gain from decisions that affect the public.
"This thing has gone to the stratosphere," said Patrick Collins, former assistant U.S. attorney.
The man who sent former Governor George Ryan to jail told ABC7 Wednesday morning the recorded phone conversations make this an especially strong case.
"As a prosecutor, when you have the wire tape evidence where you have the defendant himself saying these words, it takes the case to another level of credibility," Collins said.
Congressman Jackson has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and he denies authorizing anyone to bargain on his behalf with Governor Blagojevich or anyone else.
Those who work in the governor's office will tell you that he doesn't spend much time in his Chicago office. Perhaps as a testament to that is the fact that the feds revealed that they didn't even bother to bug his 16th floor suite of offices.
Nonetheless, the governor was there Wednesday trying to project an image of business as usual, but his spokesperson won't say what specifically he is working on or who the governor may be working with.
The governor's own sister-in-law is a newly elected state representative who may be called upon to vote on her brother-in-law's possible impeachment. Deborah Mell refused any comment Wednesday morning. She reportedly stayed at the Blagojevich home Tuesday night. She refused comment as she scraped her car off Wednesday morning outside the home.
Patti Blagojevich, who the feds say was captured on tape allegedly encouraging her husband to demand favors from the Tribune Company in exchange for money and support for the Cubs also left home Wednesday morning without making any comment.
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