Reaction to the Rod Blagojevich verdict

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Reaction from officials and the public after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty of one count of lying to federal officials.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont):

"One of my biggest concerns is that the Blagojevich defense team may have convinced people that he was just practicing politics as usual in Illinois. If that is the case, it is a real indictment of the political leadership in this state. If there is one thing that elected officials need to do in Illinois, it is to send a strong signal that the politics of the past are over, regardless of what the final verdict may be in the Blagojevich trial. I intend to redouble my efforts to achieve fundamental, structural reforms of state government."

Jeff Ryner of Springfield, former state employee at the state fair:

“With a jury, all it takes is one person, and you’re hung. I think they (prosecutors) were kind of picking on him. Some people wanted to get rid of him after he got a second term. His first four years, I don’t think he was that bad.”

Bill Fortune, former local radio executive, now lives in Missouri, had friends and family who worked for the state, at the state fair:

"I’m really surprised that only one was actually negotiated. I’m not sure if that’s for expediency or just the one they cold truly get him on. Or if there were some negotiations we don’t know about."

"There were just so many stories that never surfaced – the way he handled personnel affairs. There were an awful lot of good people hurt under his administration. I was hoping – had this feeling – that something would come down. I know he betrayed the trust of Illinois."

Springfield Ward 2 Ald. Gail Simpson:

“I’m kind of dumbfounded. … Maybe he’s not such a windbag after all. He said the truth would come out and he would be found not guilty. It’s interesting. Another chapter in Illinois history.”

Springfield Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards:

“He doesn’t go out of this thing unscathed. It’s not victory for him. The jury says you’re kind of rotten to the core. We just can’t figure out how rotten you are.”

Springfield Ward 8 Ald. Kris Theilen:

“As a state employee, I ‘m disappointed. I thought they had him on conspiracy. I really did. ... I don’t want to see waste a lot of taxpayers money on this guy. We’ve already wasted enough.”

Springfield Ward 9 Ald. Steven Dove:

"I'm a little disappointed in the judicial system, but that's the risk you take when you go to jury. Definitely surprised and disappointed."

State Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield:

"A guilty verdict on the charge of providing false statements to FBI agents is a very serious conviction. With the guilty verdict and possibility of another trial, I fully stand behind the decision of the Illinois General Assembly to remove Blagojevich from office."

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady:

“The fact that Rod Blagojevich was convicted on only one of the counts against him does not take away from his serious breach of the public’s trust. From his infamous “bleeping golden” remark to his attempt to shake down Children’s Memorial Hospital, Blagojevich was all about pay-to-play. The lack of any real defense and Blago’s refusal to testify spoke volumes. The entire case was a black eye for Illinois, but made even worse by the fact that Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan and the Democrats stood by this man, supported his re-election and later denied the public the right to a special election for the U.S. Senate seat Blagojevich had tried to sell. The trial also showed that Blago’s scheming was going on in the earliest days of his administration, and yet Quinn, Madigan and the Democrats were silent.”

Children's Memorial Hospital:

"The jury has rendered its verdict. Children's Memorial Hospital respects the legal process and it is not appropriate for us to comment further." The hospital's chief executive believed Blagojevich was threatening to cancel a state aid increase unless he came up with campaign donations for him.

Farmer Mike Campbell, who lives near Edwardsville in southwestern Illinois:

"There were 12 jurors, and I wasn't one of them. They heard all the evidence, and I didn't."

Edwin Eisendrath, the former Chicago alderman who challenged Blagojevich in the 2006 primary:

"If we find him guilty, it's an embarrassment. If we don't, it's an embarrassment. We found a way to do both."

Bill Brady, state senator and GOP candidate for governor:

“While we hoped this decision would mark the end of an unfortunate chapter and put this embarrassing episode behind us, today’s conviction of Rod Blagojevich for lying to federal law enforcement officials will likely result in further action in the pursuit of justice. But one thing is clear - the people of Illinois are rightly frustrated about the unchecked power of politicians like Rod Blagojevich who put the special interests before taxpayers. This important election in November marks the single best opportunity in our lifetimes to finally clean house in Springfield.”