Huffpost Chicago

Blagojevich's Brother Says FBI Has Him On Nearly 50 Tapes

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Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother said Wednesday the FBI may have recorded as many as 50 of his telephone conversations as part of the federal investigation of corruption in state government.

Robert Blagojevich, who chairs the governor's Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund, made the statement through his attorneys in papers filed in U.S. District Court in the fraud and bribery case against the governor.

Attorney Michael D. Ettinger said federal prosecutors had given him only one tape of Robert Blagojevich on the telephone but he believes "there are 30 to 50 more conversations wherein he was recorded."

The governor is charged with plotting to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama's election and other offenses, including using the power of office to squeeze potential campaign contributors for money.

Prosecutors have said Robert Blagojevich is heard on wiretap recordings made by the FBI but the governor's brother has not been charged with any wrongdoing. The papers his attorneys filed Wednesday said he "has not been notified that he will be charged in the future."

The attorneys said Robert Blagojevich will not ask the court to suppress -- or rule out as evidence -- the one tape they have now. But they left the door open to making such a motion later when and if they have other tapes on which their client is heard.

Chief Judge James F. Holderman of U.S. District Court has set a hearing for Friday to take up the issue of whether the Illinois Senate will get to hear four of the tapes at its trial to determine whether to remove Blagojevich from office following his impeachment in the House.

The trial is due to get under way in Springfield on Monday and House-appointed prosecutor David Ellis has asked Holderman to let him have the tapes to play for senators.

Robert Blagojevich's decision not to file a motion to suppress the recording his attorneys have received -- and thus keep it secret -- clears away one obstacle.

But it was not clear whether the governor's chief defense counsel, Edward M. Genson, and other lawyers would follow suit.