Former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich stuck to her guns Tuesday in blaming the administration of former President Barack Obama for denying her husband a fair trial in her latest attempt to persuade President Donald Trump to release the disgraced governor from prison.
“It was the Obama Administration and their Justice Department that made absolutely sure that my husband didn’t get anywhere close to a fair trial,” Patti Blagojevich said in a live interview on the Fox News Channel. “They suppressed evidence. They lied to the jury.”
She was booked for the spot on Trump’s favorite television channel hours after the conservative Washington Examiner published her op-ed titled “How our American dream turned into an American nightmare.”
Blaming Obama — one of Trump’s favorite targets — was the theme of the day.
“Little did we know how truly corrupt the Obama-era Justice Department and FBI really were,” she wrote.
Rod Blagojevich’s December 2008 arrest actually came under the George W. Bush Justice Department a month before Obama’s presidential inauguration — a misstatement not likely to bother a president who touted his own accomplishments by telling supporters at a Tuesday VFW convention that “what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
Patti Blagojevich doubled down on her Obama blame game on Fox: “They made sure that our evidence, those wiretaps that were so famous — our wiretaps never even saw the light of day. It’s the Obama Justice Department, and it’s the same people that were held over from the Bush Justice Department, that made sure we didn’t get a fair trial.”
She also likened her husband’s case to the special investigation that Trump has deemed a “witch hunt.”
“I can’t believe these people are at it again,” she said. “Whether it’s using false information to obtain warrants or turning trusted advisers into spies against you, it’s almost like I’m reliving it all over again.”
Patti Blagojevich said she was referring to the Justice Department’s Saturday release of documents on the wiretapping of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page — documents Trump has claimed show intelligence agencies misled a special court to obtain a wiretap warrant.
“Just like the allegation they used against my husband to get six wiretaps on all our phone lines,” Patti Blagojevich said on Fox. “The evidence that they supposedly used was that my husband was going to be doing a lot of fundraising before the end of the year.”
Patti Blagojevich on "latest revelations" about the FISA court: "I can't believe these people are at it again. Whether it's using false information to obtain warrants or turning trusted advisers into spies against you, it's almost like I'm reliving it all over again." #TheStory pic.twitter.com/640sT2FOHB— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 24, 2018
The interview came nearly two months after Trump said he was considering commuting Rod Blagojevich’s sentence, claiming the Northwest Side Democrat went to jail “for being stupid” and saying things “many other politicians say.”
Rod Blagojevich and Trump have some history. The former governor appeared on Trump’s reality TV show, “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010, while Blagojevich was awaiting trial.
Shortly after Trump floated the idea of a commutation, Blagojevich’s lawyers filed a formal clemency request. Before that, Trump had granted a controversial pardon to convicted CIA leaker I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and a posthumous one to legendary boxer Jack Johnson. And since then, Trump has hinted at pardons for Martha Stewart and Muhammad Ali — which wouldn’t be necessary — and he asserted his right to pardon himself.
But Blagojevich’s case appears to have stalled.
“I haven’t heard anything at all,” Patti Blagojevich said on Fox. “We are so grateful for the president to even be thinking about us in that respect. He’s given our family a tremendous amount of hope. And we’re confident the president is going to do what he thinks is right . . . We say our prayers every night and hopefully look forward to the day my husband gets home.”
Besides tying the case to a top Trump foe in Obama, Patti also dropped the names of three other presidential nemeses in her Examiner op-ed.
“Special counsel Robert Mueller, former FBI chief James Comey, and [former U.S. Attorney Patrick] Fitzgerald have done more than enough damage to our family,” she wrote. “Their politically biased agendas and insatiable desire to convict, even where no crimes exist, should frighten every single citizen in our country.”
She wrote that the “sensational charge” that Rod Blagojevich auctioned off then-President-elect Obama’s Senate seat “was a lie.
“In July 2015, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed those charges, ruling that the so-called ‘sale of the Senate seat’ was not a crime. It was nothing more than routine ‘political logrolling.’ ”
The appellate court tossed five of Blagojevich’s convictions based on how jury instructions were given. But prosecutors say he remains convicted “of the same three charged shakedowns” for which he was first sentenced in 2011.
Besides his attempt to sell the Senate seat, those include his attempt to shake down the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital for $25,000 in campaign contributions and to hold up a bill to benefit the racetrack industry for $100,000 in campaign contributions. A jury also convicted him of lying to the FBI.
And even as it tossed out some of the charges, the appellate court concluded that most of Blagojevich’s defense arguments were “frivolous.”
“The evidence, much of it from Blagojevich’s own mouth, is overwhelming,” the court wrote.
Blagojevich, due out of prison in May 2024, has served about half of a 14-year sentence. If Trump were to commute his sentence, it would be take just a few days for Blagojevich to walk free.
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