Blagojevich met with investigators

 
By Rob Olmstead
Daily Herald Staff
Published6/28/2008 12:04 AM

Federal investigators met with Gov. Rod Blagojevich "multiple" times as part of their Operation Board Games investigation, but the governor denied telling fundraisers he could reward them with government contracts, court documents unsealed this week revealed.

The documents, unsealed in post-Antoin "Tony" Rezko trial activity, show that Blagojevich met with the investigators, who asked him about alleged conversations he had separately with fundraiser Joseph Cari and con man Stuart Levine.

 

According to the government, Blagojevich asked Cari about fundraising for him and indicated he could reward fundraisers with government contracts and jobs. Levine alleged the governor intimated the same to him.

According to this week's filing, a defense response to those allegations, Blagojevich sat down with prosecutors at least twice and denied ever saying any such thing.

"Governor Blagojevich was interviewed on multiple occasions and denies these conversations. Cari failed to recall his conversation with the governor until his fifth interview by government agents," wrote Rezko attorney William P. Ziegelmueller in a Jan. 25 filing.

The filing was part of the defense's back-and-forth with the government in the run-up to Rezko's trial on mail fraud, extortion and money-laundering charges related to his influence in state government due to his heavy fundraising for Blagojevich.

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A jury acquitted Rezko of extortion, but convicted him of several mail fraud and money-laundering charges. Ziegelmueller argued unsuccessfully in the document to limit the scope of the evidence against Rezko.

The document was sealed at the time it was filed, but with the trial now over and evidence public knowledge, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve has gradually been reviewing the sealed documents and releasing many of them.

Blagojevich has not been charged with any wrongdoing and continues to maintain his administration has done nothing wrong.

Lucio Guerrero, a spokesman for Blagojevich, said the "multiple" interviews were, in fact, just two interviews, the last of which was held almost two years ago. He said the governor has cooperated fully with the federal investigation.

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