Federal authorities arrested Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, in Chicago early this morning on charges of ongoing — and very recent — plans to personally benefit from, among various official acts, replacing President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. According to a 78-page criminal complaint by the U.S. attorney of the Northern District of Illinois, the conspiracy allegedly included threatening to withhold state aid for the Tribune Co. if it didn’t fire Chicago Tribune board members who were critical of Blagojevich. The allegations of corruption are long and shocking.
Here is the news release from the U.S. attorney’s office and the criminal complaint, first made available by the Chicago Tribune.
The governor is scheduled to appear in court before U.S. Judge Nan Nolan this afternoon.
We’ll learn more at 11 a.m. when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to hold a news conference in Chicago. Stay tuned for more background and analysis about what the governor’s arrest means for state operations and for Obama's Senate seat.