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Sneed: Dick Mell says court should vacate Blago’s sentence


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The Blago beat . . .

The big question: Is former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who spends a lot of time reading the Bible in the prison library, in line for a few answered prayers now that the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated five of his 18 federal convictions?

“I’m hoping that this brings some peace and happiness to my daughter and granddaughter,” said former powerhouse Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), whose daughter, Patti, is married to Blagojevich — and who has had a contentious relationship with his son-in-law in the past.

“They should vacate his entire sentence,” he said.

“I only want happiness for Patti and my two granddaughters,” Mell added.

“They have been waiting for news on the appeal for a long time. It’s ironic that this would happen right now because they just visited him this weekend.

“They are a family devoted to each other and he [Blagojevich] talks to them every night,” added Mell.

“They just got back on Saturday from visiting him in Denver,” said Mell.

OPINION


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Attorney Sheldon Sorosky, a close friend who represented the former governor, told Sneed in April: “Rod is in good health, runs nine miles several times a week. The only thing different and changed these days is he spends a lot of time in the prison library now — reading the Bible . . . in addition to his love of history books. The Bible is new.”

Sneed exclusive . . .

Watch for Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and Carrie Austin (34th) to ask the City Council to investigate the status of rape kits collected in the city and sent for processing to the state’s crime lab.

“We are fighting a frightening trend across the country where rape kits collected by the police and dispatched to crime labs go untested and unprocessed for incredibly long periods of time — or not at all,” Burke told Sneed.

“If that holds true in Chicago — something needs to be done,” he added.

“It is important to find out if there is an incredible backlog here — which would reveal a cruel indifference by the criminal justice system to women traumatized by rape,” Burke said.

The Illinois State Police have acknowledged a backlog at their lab, but it isn’t clear how many of the kits waiting to be tested are from Chicago.

“One statistic we have uncovered is that the Chicago Police Department, which does not have a crime lab, submitted 957 rape kits to the Illinois State Police’s crime lab last year for testing — and only 271 were returned to the Chicago Police Department!

“And some of the 271 tested rape kits might very well have been from years ago,” Burke said.

Stay tuned.

Plouffe stuff . . .

Uber & out: David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager — who is now the ride-hailing Uber app’s Chief Adviser — hits town Wednesday to visit the company’s new office, which is expected to swell to 500 employees by the end of 2016.

• Upshot: Fresh from fighting with Mayor Bill de Blasio about his proposal to limit uberX rides in the Big Apple, Plouffe is coming to hail Uber’s growth in Chicago, where the app has gone from 1 car to more than 20,000 active drivers in Chicago.

• Buckshot: But Plouffe will have to hail a taxi to get a ride from O’Hare, because uberX isn’t available at the airports.

Grrrruff stuff . . .

Pssst: The dark bruise spotted below the lower lip of Vice President Joe Biden is the result of rough play with his German shepherd, Champ. There ya go.

Puck luck . . .

Dem presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y., has an air hockey table. Whatever.

The money market . . .

$$$$$: Sneed is told a fundraiser for U.S. Senate hopeful Andrea Zopp, which was held last week at the home of Mellody Hobson and “Star Wars” hubby George Lucas, raised more than $34,000. Among the attendees: John Rogers, Desiree Rogers and Dr. Eric Whitaker.

Sneedlings . . .

Wednesday’s birthdays: Selena Gomez, 23; Willem Dafoe, 60, and David Spade, 51.
Follow Sneed on Twitter: @Sneedlings

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