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Blago Must Hand Over Subpoenas, Sort Of

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 11, 2008 2:40PM

2008_1_blago.jpgSangamon County Circuit Judge Patrick Kelley ruled Wednesday that Governor Blagojevich's administration must disclose subpoenas from federal prosecutors in the ongoing investigation into state hiring. When the governor's office denied a Freedom of Information Act request for copies of the subpoenas last year, the Better Government Association, a Chicago-based government watchdog group, sued. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating charges that the Blagojevich administration traded state jobs for campaign contributions.

Blagojevich had claimed, among other things, that handing over the subpoenas would compromise an ongoing law-enforcement investigation. Judge Kelley disagreed, saying that the subpoenas, issued nearly two years ago, wouldn't jeopardize the investigation. The lawsuit hasn't come cheaply, either. According to the state comptroller’s office, the state has paid more than $33,800 to Londrigan, Potter and Randle, a private firm representing the governor in the FOIA lawsuit with the BGA, and another $124,850 to Bell, Boyd and Lloyd, who is representing Blagojevich in a similar pending FOIA lawsuit filed in Cook County by Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C., government watchdog group seeking the same subpoenas. And since state law requires the government to cover legal fees for winning plaintiffs in FOIA lawsuits, taxpayers could be on the hook for even more.

Although Judge Kelley ruled in favor of the BGA, he also ordered that the governor didn't have to hand over the subpoenas while an appeal is pending. Blagojevich lawyer Thomas Londrigan told the Sun-Times that an appeal was certain.

Image via mchenrycountyblog.