Category Archives: Trials and Tribs

The Devils in Durbin’s Details

A collection of noteworthy points, details and arguments from the Durbin-Ryan-commutation imbroglio that I haven’t yet had a chance to point out.

* “If Ryan is released early, he will have spent less time in prison than two friends convicted in the case – Ryan’s aide, Scott Fawell, who did the dirty work, and businessman Lawrence Warner, who profited from the dirty deals,” the Sun-Times notes in an editorial today.

* “Let’s also look at one of the main assertions on Ryan’s behalf, that he’s been punished enough in part because his government pension has already been taken away,” Mark Brown writes today.

“What they fail to mention is that he had already collected about $800,000 from his ridiculous $197,000-a-year pension before he was sent off to prison. How many of you can expect to collect $800,000 from a pension in your entire lifetime? Not many. It’s not our fault if he spent it all.”

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BREAKING: Troutman Pleads Guilty

She defiantly proclaimed her innocence when charged last year, but today former Ald. Arenda Troutman pled guilty to mail fraud and income tax evasion charges.

This is the case in which she was famously captured on FBI wiretapes saying, “Well, the thing is, most politicians are hos.”

Here’s a Beachwood refresher.

Spinning Out The Door

For all I know Abby Ottenhoff is an amazingly wonderful person in real life, but really, can you believe anything she says?

Ottenhoff is the latest spinmeister to leave the Blagojevich administration, and her exit interview with Bernard Schoenburg of the (Springfield) State Journal-Register leaves me wondering if she’s an idiot or just a liar. Let’s take a look.

“It’s really been an honor to be a part of this administration,” Ottenhoff said.

And for some, it’s also been a crime.

“The recent trial of gubernatorial fund-raiser Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko, she said, can be seen as good news for the governor because, while he was convicted of some corruption charges, Rezko was acquitted of ‘issues dealing with Public Official A,’ which was code in court documents for Blagojevich.”

Yes, the testimony of Ali Ata and Joe Cari was wonderful news for the governor! This is a neat bit of spin, but Blagojevich was hardly exonerated by the verdict.

“I think that the governor is in a good place,” Ottenhoff said.

Oh, is he out at Wrigley again?

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BREAKING: Rezko Verdict Reached

3 P.M.: It will be read at 3:45 p.m. today. Stay here for witty updates!

3:21 P.M.: Rod Blagojevich right now is . . .

A) Hiding under a desk in his home office.
B) Out for a jog.
C) In San Diego for the Cubs game.
D) Preparing two press releases that both say the same thing: We don’t do business that way.

3:29 P.M.: The magic surface scratch remover! (CLTV commercial)

3:31 P.M.: CLTV’s Carlos Hernandez Gomez reporting live over the phone from the Dirksen Federal Building: It’s a madhouse! (Not his words, but that’s what he means.)

3:35 P.M.: CLTV reports that Blagojevich will make a statement after the verdict is announced.

3:37 P.M.: Around the local dial: Judge Judy on Channel 2; Ellen on Channel 5; Jeopardy! on Channel 7; What I Like About You on Channel 9; Divorce Court on Fox.

3:41 P.M.: This Better Sex site is pretty good.

3:45 P.M.: They’re late.

3:46 P.M.: Apparently now it’s going to be closer to 4.

3:47 P.M.: Rezko has just arrived at the courthouse.

3:48 P.M.: Snor-Enz: The name says it all! (Sticking with CLTV)

3:53 P.M.: AP reports Rezko has been convicted on some counts; Judge Amy St. Eve is reading the verdict right now.

3:56 P.M.: Mixed verdict; still don’t know which counts. Guilty on half or more, according to Tribune political editor Jim Webb.

3:58 P.M.: CLTV crawl: AP reporting Rezko was found guilty on 16 of 24 counts.

4:03 P.M.: Yup. Guilty on 16 of 24 counts. News conferences to ensue.

The [Friday] Papers


* I think everyone’s missing the point about Mayor Richard M. Daley speaking at Northwestern’s commencement. Does NU president Henry Bienen believe that Daley is a good role model for ethical public service?

* Tony Rezko’s Las Vegas gambling debts.

* Children’s Museum parody songs.

Over at today’s Beachwood Reporter.

Please visit, and then return here for more political blogging throughout the weekend, after I duck out for some coffee that sadly won’t be from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Rejecting Ryan

“The U.S. Supreme Court rejected former Illinois Gov. George Ryan’s appeal of his federal racketeering and fraud conviction Tuesday, all but assuring the 74-year-old will serve out his 6½-year federal prison sentence,” AP reports.

To save time, the Court also rejected Rod Blagojevich’s future appeals.

Sweet Home Blago

“The corruption trial of Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko circled back to Gov. Rod Blagojevich once again Tuesday with a new allegation about a $25,000 bribe being pried out of a once high-ranking administration official to keep contractors from slapping a lien on the governor’s Ravenswood Manor home,” the Tribune reports this morning.


Maybe he couldn’t come to a budget agreement with Patti so he just kept borrowing.

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