Former Blago Aide pleads guilty, will cooperate with Feds

Richard Henry Lee
John Harris, former Chief of Staff to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), pleads guilty to wire fraud in a Chicago federal court. Harris conspired with Blagojevich to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder.

The plea deal provides that Harris will receive a reduced prison term of just under three years in return for his cooperation with federal prosecutors. As an insider, Harris should provide federal prosecutors with a great deal about corruption in Illinois.

Harris is also a former aide to Chicago Mayor Richard Daily (D). The Chicago Sun Times
reports:
Harris’ attorney, Terry Ekl, indicated that Harris — who was Mayor Daley's former budget director as well as the city’s deputy aviation commissioner — has spoken to authorities about matters not related to Blagojevich.

“When John Harris began to cooperate with the government he did not pick and choose the subject matters,” Ekl said. “He has been questioned on a variety of subjects. He has been truthful and honest about all of those.”
It appears that the Chicago machine might be under scrutiny by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his team of prosecutors as well.

Harris would be able to provide compelling testimony against Blagojevich in his pending trial sometime next year on numerous corruption charges, including the scheme to sell Obama's Senate seat.

The plea
deal reiterates the role of a Service Employee International Union official as an apparent intermediary between the incoming Obama administration and Blagojevich where the SEIU officials were supporting Obama pal Valerie Jarrett for Obama's Senate seat:
Blagojevich met with an official from the Service Employees International Union -- a person he understood to be an emissary working on behalf of Obama -- hoping to get something for himself in exchange for appointing the right candidate to fill the Senate seat.

Blagojevich was hopeful that by naming a person identified only as "Senate Candidate B" -- previously disclosed to be Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett -- he could secure an appointment to become secretary of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services, according to the plea agreement.
The SEIU officials eventually broke off any talk of a deal when Blagojevich tried to put a price tag on it. Obama subsequently named Jarrett as a senior White House advisor. The SEIU was not charged with any wrongdoing.

The SEIU endorsed Obama early on during the primary campaign which gave the union considerable clout with the Obama administration.

Thus far, Obama has not been hurt by any of the Illinois corruption scandals. But Tony Rezko, an early supporter of Obama who also helped Obama buy his Chicago home, is also cooperating with the prosecutors in an effort to get better prison accommodations and perhaps a reduced sentence.

Rezko may also testify against Blagojevich.
John Harris, former Chief of Staff to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), pleads guilty to wire fraud in a Chicago federal court. Harris conspired with Blagojevich to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder.

The plea deal provides that Harris will receive a reduced prison term of just under three years in return for his cooperation with federal prosecutors. As an insider, Harris should provide federal prosecutors with a great deal about corruption in Illinois.

Harris is also a former aide to Chicago Mayor Richard Daily (D). The Chicago Sun Times
reports:
Harris’ attorney, Terry Ekl, indicated that Harris — who was Mayor Daley's former budget director as well as the city’s deputy aviation commissioner — has spoken to authorities about matters not related to Blagojevich.

“When John Harris began to cooperate with the government he did not pick and choose the subject matters,” Ekl said. “He has been questioned on a variety of subjects. He has been truthful and honest about all of those.”
It appears that the Chicago machine might be under scrutiny by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his team of prosecutors as well.

Harris would be able to provide compelling testimony against Blagojevich in his pending trial sometime next year on numerous corruption charges, including the scheme to sell Obama's Senate seat.

The plea
deal reiterates the role of a Service Employee International Union official as an apparent intermediary between the incoming Obama administration and Blagojevich where the SEIU officials were supporting Obama pal Valerie Jarrett for Obama's Senate seat:
Blagojevich met with an official from the Service Employees International Union -- a person he understood to be an emissary working on behalf of Obama -- hoping to get something for himself in exchange for appointing the right candidate to fill the Senate seat.

Blagojevich was hopeful that by naming a person identified only as "Senate Candidate B" -- previously disclosed to be Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett -- he could secure an appointment to become secretary of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services, according to the plea agreement.
The SEIU officials eventually broke off any talk of a deal when Blagojevich tried to put a price tag on it. Obama subsequently named Jarrett as a senior White House advisor. The SEIU was not charged with any wrongdoing.

The SEIU endorsed Obama early on during the primary campaign which gave the union considerable clout with the Obama administration.

Thus far, Obama has not been hurt by any of the Illinois corruption scandals. But Tony Rezko, an early supporter of Obama who also helped Obama buy his Chicago home, is also cooperating with the prosecutors in an effort to get better prison accommodations and perhaps a reduced sentence.

Rezko may also testify against Blagojevich.