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In Blagojevich case, Trump and media are both to blame

Trump went back on his promise to commute Blagojevich’s sentence, but the press keeps misreporting the facts about what the ex-governor did.

Then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2011.
AP file photo

In your editorial, “What Trump is doing to Blagojevich is wrong,” you repeat several false narratives about the former governor’s case.

First, Blagojevich did not try to sell a vacant Senate seat. He tried to make a political deal with Barack Obama after the president had urged Blagojevich to appoint Obama’s friend Valerie Jarrett to the Senate.

These charges were reversed on appeal after the court found that the proposed deal was perfectly lawful, similar to deals made by other politicians throughout history.

Nor did Blagojevich extort large contributions from a hospital executive and a racetrack owner.

The hospital executive lobbied for a rate increase, Blagojevich agreed, and five days later, the executive was asked to host a fundraiser for the governor. The racetrack executive, a long-time supporter of the governor, was merely asked to fulfill a commitment he had made months earlier to raise funds for the governor’s campaign. There was no extortion.

The prosecutors obtained convictions, after two trials, by literally rewriting the law and by telling the jury that it must convict Blagojevich because he had discussed the donation requests during private conversations with his aides in which he also discussed official acts.

The president’s failure to follow though on his promise to commute the governor’s sentence has indeed caused a lot of pain to the Blagojevich family. But part of the reason there was so much pushback from other politicians is that the facts about what the governor actually did have been repeatedly misreported in the press.

Leonard C. Goodman, attorney, Len Goodman Law Office LLC
Editor’s note: Len Goodman is an investor in Sun-Times Media

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Ban assault weapons now

The solutions to gun massacres in this country are complicated and elusive, but it’s clear that more can and should be done to ameliorate this menace.

The underlying causes should be addressed: two-parent families, better education, active mentoring and mental health treatment. But these are long-term solutions and people are dying now.

The only immediate, practical change is to ban assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. These are not hunting or recreational firearms, and have no place in civil society.

Yes, murders occur with handguns, knives and even fists, but it’s the assault rifles that can kill 20 people in 30 seconds.

Background checks are crucial as well, especially at gun shows, but military firepower should not be available to the general public.

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

Listen to Pfleger on gun violence

The Rev. Michael Pfleger’s August 8 op-ed in the Sun-Times was well thought-out and level-headed. Although some of what he proposes needs to be debated, his thoughts on gun violence were carefully explained and non-confrontational, compared to how he is sometimes portrayed in the news.

Wayne Rutkowski, Lombard