Rod Blagojevich won't be taking his increasingly tired shtick on tour abroad, thanks to a ruling last week from the federal judge in his corruption trial. Prosecutors weren't convinced that sending a guy charged with 16 felonies out into the wild was the greatest idea. Right they were.
Rod Blagojevich won't be taking his increasingly tired shtick on tour abroad, thanks to a ruling last week from the federal judge in his corruption trial.
The disgraced ex-governor had asked the court to let him travel to the jungles of Costa Rica to appear on the forthcoming NBC reality TV show "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" The gig - something of a B-list celebrity version of "Survivor" - could have earned him what he claims is a much-needed $123,000. Prosecutors weren't convinced that sending a guy charged with 16 felonies out into the wild was the greatest idea.
Right they were. The temptation to go on the lam, as well as the opportunity to ditch the cameras and justice at the same time, might have been too much for someone prosecutors say is facing 25 to 30 years behind bars. It would be for us. Why should the court have believed Blagojevich, whose relationship with the truth would be described by many as casual, when he pledged not to flee?
From where we sit, Blagojevich should be treated like any other felony defendant, and in this case he was.
While it may not have been Judge James Zagel's job to lecture Blagojevich that he needs to focus on these charges and spend his pre-trial time coming to terms with what he's up against, we do share the judge's perception that the ex-guv isn't taking the possibility of prison all that seriously. The money he stood to make with this program would likely cover but a pittance of his legal fees.
Arguably his time would be better spent beefing up his legal team and trying to get the court to permit him access to $2.7 million in campaign funds. Much as those contributions were not intended for the former governor's criminal defense, neither are we too keen on taxpayers being on the hook for it.
Besides, as Blagojevich himself now acknowledges, the judge has spared him the ordeal of having to eat bugs in Costa Rica. Ultimately there will be enough reality for Blagojevich in federal court these next few years that he can do without the realities of a Central American jungle.
Peoria Journal Star