Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been charged with corruption for — among other things — allegedly attempting to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Blagojevich has not been hiding from the public eye. Since being charged, he has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and competed in The Celebrity Apprentice (Donald Trump fired him in the fourth episode).
The trial is set for June 3. Blagojevich’s defense team is sparring with federal prosecutors over the 500 hours of recordings from secret FBI wiretaps, and how they should be used at trial. The big-haired former governor wants jurors to sit through 200 hours of tape.
Blagojevich’s love of being on camera has not faded. He has a J.D. from Pepperdine, but must have a certification in spin and cliché from some other venerable institution. He issued a challenge to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at a press conference on Tuesday. The bombastic display drew media cameras, but didn’t do much to bring the judge around to his side. A round-up of Blagojevichisms from Tuesday’s press conference, after the jump.
* Mumbai high court upholds 1995 decision invalidating licenses for White & Case, Ashurst and Chadbourne & Park to open firms in India. Unless the government changes the law, that goes for any other non-Indian firm that wants to open an office there. Partnerships with Indian firms and offshore work still welcome, of course. [Bloomberg]
* Crocs have no teeth when it comes to fighting legal battles. The footwear company has settled five design defect lawsuits filed by parents whose children suffered escalator injuries. [On Point News]
* Yolanda Young’s suit against Covington & Burling is back on. [BLT]
* The ATL editors are not the only legal groupies in New York. [New York Times via Gothamist]
* Blago’s judge is prepared for theatrics in the court. [Associated Press]
* Looks like Rihanna and Chris Brown may be violating the judge’s “two-way” stay-away order. [New York Post]
* The latest abortion legislation. [Slate]
* Senators Orrin Hatch and John Cornyn will vote against Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. [Associated Press]
* Law school students interning in the Brooklyn DA’s office lack salaries and chairs. [New York Times]
* Is the ABA a club that’s not cool anymore? [National Law Journal]
This morning, we mentioned the University of Illinois College of Law admissions scandal. It appears that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich pressured the University of Illinois Chancellor, Richard Herman, and Heidi Hurd, former dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, to admit underqualified students who were politically connected. In exchange for admitting those students, university officials attempted to obtain jobs for graduates of the College of Law.
The Chicago Tribune reports the results of its investigation into the law school:
The documents show for the first time efforts to seek favors — in this case, jobs — for admissions, the most troubling evidence yet of how Illinois’ entrenched system of patronage crept into the state’s most prestigious public university.
They also detail the law school’s system for handling “Special Admits,” students backed by the politically connected, expanding the scope of a scandal prompted by a Chicago Tribune investigation.
The paper has published the incriminating emails (PDF) it has uncovered. Warning, these emails are not safe for naive people who are unaccustomed with the “Chicago style” of getting things done. Here’s an exchange between the Chancellor and the Dean about what jobs would be appropriate in exchange for admitting politically connected students:
I suppose there are worse things than a dean trying to aggressively secure employment for her law graduates can’t pass the bar and can’t think. Of course, you’d hope that the dean would be even more focused on educating students so that they can pass the bar and, you know, think — but why cry over spilled milk?
In fact, some Illinois law graduates we spoke with had a very positive impression of Dean Hurd. Depending, of course, on what you mean by positive.
Some student impressions of the dean, and more emails, after the jump.
More than three thousand ballots were cast, but there can be only one Lawyer of the Year.
Starting at the bottom, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich may not have hit the very lowest point in Chicago political history, but he did manage to get the lowest tally in our vote, with only 96 supporters.
Harvard Law Avenger Phil Telfeyan was a close second-to-last in your esteem, with a mere 110 votes.
Judge Halverson rounded out the bottom three at 167 votes.
That makes THREE! THREE! THREE candidates who did worse than Count Layoffula! HA! HA! HA! (He received a total of 233 votes.)
Listen dude, you really want the Spitzer? Apparently not. The prosecutor-turned-commentator came up only average in our slate of nominees, with 288 votes.
Nervous T-10 1L may not have found a job this year, but he touched the hearts of 428 voters, landing him in the Final Four.
Marc Dreier — if that’s his real name — swindled up 485 ballots, more votes than disgraced governors Eliot Spitzer and Rod Blagojevich combined. Way to rock the scandal vote, sir. You’re the Second Runner-Up for the 2008 ATL Lawyer of the Year.
That leaves us with the final two. Will last year’s runner-up, President-elect Barack Obama, finally be Number That One? Or will The Anonymous Laid-Off Big Firm Attorney finally get something to soothe his pain? (Elie won’t share his pot.)
Find out who will be crowned the 2008 ATL Lawyer of the Year, after the jump.
Some have wondered: Where was star litigator Dan Webb at Governor Rod Blagojevich’s bond hearing?
High-powered Winston & Strawn litigators Dan Webb and Bradley Lerman were not at Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s side when he appeared at a bond hearing on Tuesday. Blagojevich instead tapped Sheldon Sorosky, a lawyer from two-partner Chicago litigation shop Kaplan & Sorosky. Whither Winston & Strawn?
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich owes more than $500,000 in unpaid bills to the law firm Winston & Strawn, his primary counsel since federal investigators began looking into various allegations of corruption five years ago. It is unclear whether the legal bills are for personal or campaign work, or for both. Campaign filings show Winston & Strawn had charged the governor’s campaign fund, Friends of Blagojevich, nearly $2 million in legal fees through the end of 2007.
“Friends of Blagojevich”: probably in short supply right now.
Yesterday, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich made news with “dangerous” threats about halting all state business with Bank of America until the Republic Windows & Doors fiasco is sorted out.
Today, Blagojevich learned the old rule: “Let he who is not under investigation for ‘staggering’ corruption cast the first stone.” The Chicago Tribune (which is still allowed access to ink and paper) reports:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested by FBI agents on federal corruption charges Tuesday morning….
“The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.
“They allege that Blagojevich put a ‘for sale’ sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism.”
Apparently, the government has a lot of the evidence against Blagojevich on tape.
An investigation years in the making, after the jump.
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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