Only in Chicago: How the Rod Blagojevich Scandal Engulfed Illinois and Enthralled the Nation (Paperback)
The city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the nation at large were captivated by the arrest, trial, and general public embarrassment of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Shortly after Blagojevich's arrest in December 2008, award-winning Chicago Sun-Times federal courts reporter Natasha Korecki began writing The Blago Blog to capture the seemingly endless stream of surreal moments, shady political maneuvers, and salty sound bites emanating from the embattled governor, who was accused of trying to sell President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat, among many other acts in what prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald called Blagojevich's political corruption crime spree. Only in Chicago is derived from the best of Korecki's work on the Blagojevich scandal, weaving together years of reporting as well as never-before published details into one straightforward, fast-paced narrative. From the infamous audio tapes released of Blagojevich to the strange public relations campaign he and his wife, Patti, waged throughout the trial, this is one of the most bizarre true political tales ever told. In many people's minds, there was an unprecedented degree of obliviousness to the part played by the eventually impeached Illinois governor, especially given the explicit and seemingly damning audio evidence released to the public. Korecki's reporting reveals inside information from the arrest, trial, and sentencing. Interviews with Blagojevich, his wife, and countless other sources offer lucid insight to this often baffling, frequently humorous, and occasionally tragic epic. Also embroiled in this scandal were some of the most infamous players in Chicago and Illinois's sordid political scene. But beyond the slew of backroom deal-makers who were sucked into the Blagojevich imbroglio, many Illinois Democratic leaders felt the scandal's toxic fallout seep dangerously near. President Barack Obama himself, while never accused of any wrongdoing, was interviewed by federal prosecutors, and union leader Tom Balanoff claimed Obama called him the day before he was to be elected president, giving him the green light to talk to Blagojevich about Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett's potential appointment to his Senate seat. Only in Chicago includes details about now-mayor Rahm Emanuel's discussions with Blagojevich as well. But the other powerful political figure who became most entangled with the scandal was since-resigned Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is accused of offering Blagojevich $6 million for the Senate seat through an intermediary. The investigation was colored by the revelation that Jackson's mysterious months-long medical leave was due to his reported in-patient treatment at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder. Only in Chicago is filled with incredible details from inside and outside the courtroom. Korecki is the authoritative voice on all things Blagojevich, having followed and reported on the story from its very beginning. Her story is focused and engrossing, and this book will prove to be one of the most important--and entertaining--accounts of this indelible scandal ever written.
Natasha Korecki is an award-winning journalist who covers politics for the Chicago Sun-Times. She previously covered federal courts for the Sun-Times, including the trials of former governors Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan, as well as legal affairs for the Daily Herald. Korecki authored both The Blago Blog, which gained a national following during the former governor's trials and Eye on Rezko' a trial blog detailing the trial of political donor Tony Rezko. Korecki broke key stories in the Blagojevich probe, including those involving the attempted sale of Barack Obama's Senate seat, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and former U.S. Senator Roland Burris.