In a new NIU Press book, author Robert Blagojevich, the brother of the former Illinois governor, describes a gripping account of his fight with the powerful federal government to maintain his innocence.
On his LinkedIn page, Blagojevich says he wrote the book, “Fundraiser A: My Fight for Freedom and Justice,” because the experience “taught him about the need for Americans to defend their civil liberties and hold public officials accountable.”
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and brother Robert were indicted on federal corruption charges in 2009. The most dramatic charge was accusing them of attempting to sell Barack Obama’s former senate seat to the highest bidder in 2008. Rod was convicted and is serving a 14-year sentence in Colorado.
At Rod’s request in 2008, Robert became head of his brother’s fundraising operation. Robert agreed to honor his parents’ wish that the brothers help one another when needed, according to NIU Press.
The book, to be released in April and already for sale, describes how Robert rose to the greatest challenge of his life to beat the odds of a 96-percent conviction rate by the U.S. Department of Justice.
In an article published Wednesday in the magazine Chicago, writer Carol Felsenthal unfolds the history of the case and how Robert portrays himself as a pawn during the 18-month ordeal. His attorney, Michael Ettinger, is described as having a “Columbo-like persona” and is lauded by Robert for helping him avoid prison.
Felsenthal interviewed both brothers over the years. Although the brothers share the same Chicago blue-collar roots, she writes, they have little in common. Rod is described as “a goofball, a child/man, undisciplined, and trapped by vanity, laziness, envy and selfishness.” On the other hand, she views Robert, an Army veteran, as a serious person who works as a volunteer and small businessman. Robert is now living in Nashville.
“This book demonstrates in a clear and smart manner the problems in our criminal justice system,” said Phillip A. Turner, a criminal defense attorney in Chicago and a former assistant U.S. attorney.
NIU Press describes the book as a memoir that will interest “those who enjoy legal thrillers, political dramas, family sagas and all things Chicago.”
The hard-cover book costs $24.