Washington : Rod Blagojevich, former governor of the Midwestern state of Illinois, has been indicted on sweeping corruption charges, four months after he was arrested amid an alleged scam to sell the former Senate seat of President Barack Obama.
Federal prosecutors in Chicago said that five other men – including Blagojevich’s brother, two former aides to the ousted governor and two fundraisers – were also indicted in the case Thursday.
Blagojevich was arrested just weeks after the November presidential election, in which then-Senator Obama’s victory created a vacancy in one of Illinois’ two senate seats. Many states including Illinois give the governor power to appoint an interim US senator until the next federal elections.
Blagojevich, 53, was accused of seeking donations, favours or high-paid jobs or political appointments in exchange for the vacant senate post. Prosecutors, who have been investigating influence-peddling and other corruption allegations for years against the Chicago-based Blagojevich, claimed to have recorded telephone wiretaps of the then-governor discussing the attempted deals.
Blagojevich faces 16 felony counts including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy and lying to federal agents in the senate-seat case and unrelated corruption allegations.
He was impeached and removed from office earlier this year by the Illinois general assembly.