Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been charged in a fresh corruption indictment that contains racketeering and attempted extortion of the US Presidential chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
The 113-page indictment, which also names Blagojevich’s brother Rob, adds eight new charges. The former governor, who was kicked out of office last year on corruption charges including he tried to auction President Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat, now faces 24 counts in all.
The new charges are: racketeering, attempted extortion involving then Congressman Emanuel and his brother, bribery involving the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital, bribery involving a construction executive, conspiracy to commit bribery involving a Racetrack executive, conspiracy to commit extortion tied to appointing a US Senator, attempted extortion in relation to a US Senate seat appointment and conspiracy to commit bribery involving the senate seat appointment.
Prosecutors said the new charges against the duo was a legal maneuver to help keep the case on track for a June trial. The ex-governor and his brother may make an appearance again in federal court to formally enter a plea to the new indictment.
Blagojevich’s lawyer said the new charges will not translate into a trial date extension. “It does not change the strategy at all. We have maintained from day one that the governor is innocent,” lawyer Aaron Goldstein said.
Blagojevich was indicted last April on 16 counts, including racketeering conspiracy.