The year was 2010. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was embroiled in a court case that threatened to send him away for over a decade.
The Democrat was accused (and later convicted) of attempting to sell the newly emptied U.S. Senate seat of then-President Barack Obama. The former governor’s defense team had a strategy, however: They would subpoena Obama himself as a star witness.
According to the defense, Obama was seemingly more involved in the process than was previously thought.
“First, Mr. Obama contradicts the testimony of an important government witness,” a motion from the lawyers read.
“Second, President Obama’s testimony is relevant to the necessary element of intent of the defendant.
“Third, President Obama is the only one who can say if emissaries were sent on his behalf, who those emissaries were, and what, if anything, those emissaries were instructed to do on his behalf.”
After an internal report by Obama’s own lawyers cleared the president, a judge ultimately shot down the motion.
For Obama, it was a perfect scenario. Blagojevich was convicted and sentenced to prison, taking the fall for the scandal. Any discussion about Obama’s involvement, which was seemingly so minimal that a court refused to subpoena him, could safely be declared a right-wing conspiracy.
That is, until President Donald Trump commuted Blagojevich’s sentence Tuesday.
Redactions in Blagojevich’s original motion seem to hint Obama was more involved than he let on.
The claims link Obama to a convicted fraudster, a quid pro quo scheme and secret phone calls. If this subpoena had been granted 10 years ago, there’s a good chance we would know a great deal more than we do now.
It’s unclear what plans, if any, Blagojevich has to revisit the 2010 trial and subpoena request.
If Obama is found to have connections to this case that his team helped to obscure, it would only add to the list of scandals that occurred during his two terms in the White House.
Trump’s freeing of the former Illinois governor is sure to bring this narrative back into the light once again, hopefully with some conclusions this time. A post from the president underscored his doubts about Blagojevich’s conviction.
Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat. He served 8 years in prison, with many remaining. He paid a big price. Another Comey and gang deal! Thank you to @LisaMarieBoothe who really “gets” what’s going on! @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2020
Regardless of Blagojevich’s innocence, the question remains:
How much did Obama know, and how deeply was he involved?
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