Memo to US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald: You won. Due to your legal team's efforts, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is a convicted felon. Remember how they got Al Capone, another Chicagoan? Not on racketeering nor on his mob-related activities. He was thrown in jail for his IRS woes.
Instead of preparing for a retrial, focus your time and talent on Blagojevich's sentencing hearing for lying to the FBI. That is where you should focus your efforts. That is what you should be discussing with Judge James Zagel--a date for the sentencing hearing. It is not as sexy as some of the other counts, but it is the meat and potatoes of what your office does. And let's face it. The City of Big Shoulders, is a meat and potatoes type of town.
The entire nation has Blagojevich battle fatigue. We can't take it any more. Despite Blago's effing golden remark captured on the government's wiretaps of his conversations, President Barack Obama's US Senate seat was not sold to the highest bidder. For if it had been, Rod Blagojevich's campaign war chest would have been six million dollars richer. But it wasn't.
Because his big brother Robert Blagojevich did not accept the six million dollar offer of an Indian businessman to give Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. the senate seat vacated by President Obama. If it was truly all about the money, why didn't brother Robert accept the six million? Roland Burris, who eventually got the appointment, didn't give Robert or Rod a dime for it or anything else of value.
Please return to sender brother Robert. Send him back to Nashville where he belongs. He is not a Chicago pol. He is a military man and a businessman with no prior political experience. He had no idea what he signed up for when he honored his mother's dying wish to help out his brother. Neither did his dying mother for that matter. You are not going to get a Chicago jury to convict the brother.
This isn't just one woman writer's humble opinion. It is a consensus of opinion from around the horn. It is rare to see the editorial boards of such politically disparate publications as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, agree on anything. Yet after the Blagojevich jury verdict was announced, both papers editorialized that your office should skip a retrial even though it is your right to seek one. Ditto Republican consultant Mary Matalin and Democratic TV talker Roland Martin as well as political commentator David Gergen who has worked both sides of the aisle, most recently for the Clinton White House. All three were on CNN last week, opining against a retry of the Blagojevich brothers.
So, are you listening? To repeat. Mr. US Attorney, sir, you got what you sought. Rod Blagojevich is now a convicted felon. You won.
On behalf of the people of the state of Illinos and the nation, let's put our money and mouthpiece on the penalty phase. Will Blago serve time in prison? If so, at which facility? For how long? Will he pay a fine? How much? Will he be required to do community service? What and for how long? Will he be required to make restitution? Will he be confined to his home with an ankle bracelet? Will he get to keep his hair or be forced to trim it? Just kidding on that last one. But for a guy who spent thousands on a single business suit, the mere thought of having to wear an orange jumpsuit every day, could be punishment enough. OK, just kidding on that one, too.
Seriously though, as actor Jon Hamm said to a female co-worker in a tight spot (Elisabeth Moss playing Peggy Olsen), on the Emmy Award winning drama Mad Men: "Move forward."
Let's move forward, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, and spend the public's limited tax dollars and limited resources on catching some other bad guys. You did what you said you would do. Another former governor is a convicted felon. Hey, maybe George Ryan and Blago could even share a cell together. Stranger things have happened.
Please accept the jury's verdict and move on. Thank you for your consideration.