Elmhurst woman, 78, turns out to support Blagojevich

At 78 and suffering from arthritis, it takes a little something extra to get May Farley out of her Elmhurst apartment these days.

But the start of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial was just the spark she needed to make the trip to Chicago's federal courthouse with her daughter Patty.

"It's a miracle I was there," May said. "I forced myself to go even though I haven't been feeling too good lately."

However, the mother-daughter tandem aren't among the majority of Illinoisans whom May says seem to have already convicted Blagojevich of trying to sell President Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. They were there to lift the disgraced politician's spirits heading into the jury selection process with signs declaring their support. And it appears they accomplished their mission.

"He definitely noticed them and very much appreciated their support," said Blagojevich family spokesman Glenn Selig. "Anytime someone goes out of their way to show their support for him, he finds it very touching. The thing that bothers him most is that people believe the charges against him."

May Farley didn't know what to expect when she got to the courthouse but was flummoxed by a lack of like-minded individuals.

"I was shocked there weren't more of his supporters there," she said. "But there weren't that many against him showing up either."

Patty Farley created the lighthearted handmade signs. One sign played off the former governor's love of Elvis Presley and read, "Don't Be Cruel, Join the 7%." Patty said that's a reference to a recent poll that shows 7 percent of Illinois residents don't believe Blagojevich is guilty. Another sign read, "Rod's Not Cuckoo. Rod's Not Guilty."

The women plan to return when they have a chance.

"I have to plan this around my work schedule," Patty said, "but I'll be there as many days as I can."

May believes Blagojevich was railroaded by federal prosecutors at the behest of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

"I believe he's innocent," the mother said. "It's Mike Madigan and that darling Daley that should be on trial there instead of him. We believe that in our hearts and our souls."

Patty said she's received some strange looks when she tells friends that she supports Blagojevich, but she also believes she's been able to convert some to her way of thinking.

"Some people have looked at me like I said O.J. was innocent when I tell them what I'm doing," she said.

May Farley blames an apathetic electorate for allowing the trial to proceed.

"Most Americans today are not interested in things that concern the government," she said. "They're concerned with their own greed and their McMansions."

She also acknowledges she hasn't read the wiretap transcripts the federal government released following Blagojevich's arrest but believes they were likely manipulated to make the former governor look bad.

"I haven't had a chance actually to read them," she said. "I believe (prosecutors) put them together so that they're taken out of context."

The women say that their support for Blagojevich stems from the "good things" he was able to accomplish, specifically for seniors, while in office.

"I don't understand the animosity toward him because he's been really good to the people of Illinois," Patty said. "He may have a bit of a potty mouth, but most men do inside their own homes. They're talking about taking a man, in this case where money never changed hands, being taken away from his wife and two little girls."

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