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10 Most Incriminating Secret Recordings


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FBI Wiretaps of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich
Blagojevich was taken into federal custody Dec. 9, 2008 to face corruption charges which included trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. ©Scott Olson/Getty Images
Blagojevich was taken into federal custody Dec. 9, 2008 to face corruption charges which included trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. ┬ęScott Olson/Getty Images

An FBI investigation of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich began in October 2008 when one of his associates, John Wyma, tipped them off that Blagojevich was attempting to solicit campaign contributions or other personal benefits in exchange for official favors. Authorities received permission to wiretap his phones and install microphones in his campaign office, recorded him for around seven weeks and gathered enough evidence to arrest him in December 2008. The scandal also led to his impeachment.

The profanity-laden recordings revealed efforts to take campaign contributions or other bribes in exchange for appointment to the U.S. Senatorial seat vacated by President Barack Obama upon his election to the presidency, among other possible perks within his power as governor. After the first trial in August 2010 resulted in a hung jury, Blagojevich's defense team tried to keep the tapes from being played as evidence during the retrial, to no avail. In 2011, he was convicted of 18 counts of felony corruption, including wire fraud, soliciting bribes and attempted extortion, and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, $21,800 in fines and two years of supervised release. He is serving his sentence as inmate number 40892-424 at the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in Littleton, Colorado.

Oddly enough, Blagojevich was not the first Illinois governor to be accused of a felony, nor the second, but the fifth just in the past 100 years. These include George Ryan in 2007 for conspiracy, racketeering, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI; Otto Kerner in 1973 for bribery, conspiracy and perjury; Dan Walker in 1987 (a while after his 1970s term) for bank fraud; and Lennington Small in 1929 for embezzlement. All but Small were convicted. Blagojevich has the distinction of receiving the longest sentence.


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