Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why is this man smiling?

This is Robert Blagojevich, Rod's brother. He's grinning because he just learned that the government has dropped all charges against him and he won't be retried along with his brother next year.

Robert and Rod were tried together -- when it came to their charges, the jury had to either acquit or convict them both. The jury couldn't reach either conclusion. No one knows for sure what the jurors told the Feds, but it's safe to assume that the jurors were closer to acquitting Robert than his more famous brother. Perhaps that's because Robert willingly took the stand and testified under oath.

Until relatively recently, the Blagojevich Brothers were estranged. While Rod followed his shooting political star in Chicagoland, his older brother served in the armed forces and lived in Kentucky. When Rod got in hot water with the local Democratic Party, he became paranoid and reached out to his brother, explaining that he needed a political operative he could trust and there was no left in the local establishment who fit that bill. So Robert came up here, worked as his kid brother's fundraiser and, presumably, found himself being used by the government for leverage when the indictments first came down -- rumor has it, Blago was told, "Take a plea and we'll let your brother go." Rod refused the offer and so Robert stood trial.

Now, after two years and huge legal bills, it's over. Did he break the law in his efforts to help his brother raise campaign cash? Probably. Was it intentional? Probably not. Has he paid a big enough price for his really very minor role in this mess? Undoubtedly. Thanks to Patrick Fitzgerald for saving tax payers the expense of a second trial.

And now it looks like the brothers' relationship is going back to the way it was. When asked if Rod had called to congratulate him on the good news from the government, Robert said, "No. When it comes to my brother, I'm an afterthought." When asked if he "blamed" his brother for dragging him into this, Robert said, "I don't discuss my relationship with my brother."

August Happiness Challenge 2010 -- Day 25

FREE pizza! Since I stayed late to (almost) finish packing, a team that was working late* and ordered dinner invited me to partake of their leftovers. I knew I should partake of the salad, but instead I went for the pizza. Free food always takes better.

*Enough work that at least four coworkers had to work overtime is also good news.