La cosa che rende questa storia ancora più peculiare è che lo show che vedrà Blago protagonista è quello curato da due comici del mitico Second City, il locale di cabaret di Chicago che fece debuttare sulle scene un giovane e promettente John Belushi. Due comici che lo prendevano in giro imitandolo in uno spettacolo intitolato, appunto, Rod Blagojevich Superstar. Secondo i giornali, l'ex governatore rischia parecchio e la decisione di comparire in pubblico a una stazione radio ascoltatissima è stata giudicata molto poco opportuna. Ma tant'è, in Illinois sono abituati ad avere governatori non proprio rispettosi delle leggi. Il predecessore di Blago, il repubblicano George Ryan, ha lasciato carica e politica nel 2003 nel turbinio di accuse di corruzione. Nel 2007 i processi si sono conclusi con una condanna a sei anni e sei mesi, che Ryan sta scontando in prigione. Chissà se domattina ascolterà alla radio quello che potrebbe essere il suo prossimo compagno di cella.
Blagojevich taking to airwaves as indictment looms
By DEANNA BELLANDI March 24, 2009
CHICAGO - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich certainly isn't acting like a man staring down a federal corruption indictment that could come any day.
Whether promoting his book deal or slamming the man who replaced him, the ousted governor hasn't stopped seeking the spotlight. His latest publicity-seeking move: a one-day gig as a Chicago radio talk show host.
Blagojevich's attention-getting ways are enough to make a lawyer cringe. "I would just lay low and keep my mouth shut. That's the legally prudent thing to do," said Chicago attorney John Beal, who doesn't represent Blagojevich. But the former governor, who was impeached and removed from office following his arrest on federal corruption charges, denies any wrongdoing and refuses to fade quietly into private life. "It's not part of his human nature to just sit back, hide in the corner and not do anything," said his publicist, Glenn Selig. "He likes being out and about."
Blagojevich hit the national talk show television circuit days before being bounced from office. His two-hour gig hosting Wednesday's "Don Wade & Roma Morning Show" on Chicago's WLS-AM comes as his criminal case is poised to heat up -- federal prosecutors have less than two weeks to obtain a grand jury indictment or seek more time. Blagojevich, who previously has been a guest on the radio show, will take calls from listeners, tell stories and talk with guests from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. The station had offered Blagojevich his own weekend show in January if he resigned as governor. He didn't quit and he didn't get the show.
Selig said there's no concern Blagojevich's appearance will hurt his legal case. "He's going to be the interviewer in this capacity and have a good time on the radio," Selig said. Newly retained Blagojevich attorney Terence P. Gillespie declined to discuss his client's plan. "I think at this point, I won't comment on what my advice to the governor was and whether he accepted it or not," Gillespie said Tuesday evening. Gillespie said earlier that Blagojevich's defense team was "still in flux" after the former chief defense counsel quit in January. Edward M. Genson had hinted Blagojevich didn't listen to him.
U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald has until April 7 for a federal grand jury to indict Blagojevich, but it's possible his office could seek a deadline extension. The Chicago Democrat was arrested Dec. 9 on corruption charges that accused him of, among other things, trying to sell President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat. In recent weeks he has blasted his successor and former lieutenant governor, new Gov. Pat Quinn, for proposing an income tax increase and has called lawmakers drunkards and adulterers who don't know how to do their jobs.
It's anyone's guess what he'll say when he has the radio mike to himself. But Blagojevich has at least one good reason to seek publicity. He has a book due out in October and attention -- good or bad -- can drive sales. Selig has promised the book will expose the seamier side of politics. "He just has to be out there to keep his name alive," said DePaul University marketing professor Bruce Newman. But Blagojevich also must be careful. "Anything that's broadcast over the air can be subpoenaed and used against you at trial. ... They're trying to put him in prison for a long time so the stakes are very high," noted Beal, the attorney not on Blagojevich's case.
Blagojevich could face other pitfalls as a talk radio novice, said Hope Daniels, an associate professor in the radio department at Chicago's Columbia College. "He has to allow his guests to actually speak and not speak for his guests," Daniels said. Selig said Blagojevich has done his homework. "This is an opportunity for him to get into some dialogues with people, have a good time, have fun and sort of be out there," Selig said.