CHICAGO, Jan. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- It was only 10 years ago that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested for corruption – for pay-to-play schemes like supposedly trying to sell Barack Obama's former Senate seat. WBEZ Chicago's newest podcast, Public Official A, examines the rise and fall of Blagojevich – a politician whose prodigious talents, unwavering ambition, and populist message powered a meteoric rise to the top, but who left a trail of destruction in his wake.
"Rod Blagojevich is one of the most complex, charismatic and flawed figures in contemporary American politics and his rise and fall contains all of the echoes of a Shakespearean tragedy," said Steve Edwards, vice president, chief content officer for WBEZ Chicago. "It's not just a behind-the-scenes story about an impeached and indicted ex-governor from Illinois. It's a story about public officials and the lengths some of them will go to succeed at the highest level of politics."
In 2011, Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 charges including wire fraud, attempted extortion and conspiracy to solicit bribes and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. During the federal investigation, Blagojevich was referred to as "Public Official A."
"Blagojevich once had a more likely path to the White House than even Barack Obama, but the former governor's lofty ambitions came crashing down when the FBI raided his home and led him out in handcuffs as his daughters slept," said WBEZ State Politics Reporter Dave McKinney, who covered the Blagojevich story during his time as a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Between his arrest and corruption conviction, Blagojevich rose to national celebrity – even getting a 'you're fired' from Donald Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice. And now, Blagojevich is pinning his hopes of coming home early on one person, the president of the United States," he continued. "This podcast takes a hard look at the ex-governor from all angles."
Produced by Colin McNulty, Public Official A includes interviews with Blagojevich's wife, Patti; the FBI agents who secretly recorded hundreds of hours of his and Patti's conversations; a former top aide-turned-government informant and an informant who wore a recording device in her bra; New York Times' Reporter Maggie Haberman; and former Deputy Governor Bradley Tusk.
About WBEZ Chicago
WBEZ, Chicago's NPR news station, serves the community with fact-based, objective news and information. WBEZ's award-winning journalists ask tough questions, dig deep for answers and expose truths that spark change and foster understanding. WBEZ Chicago is home to two daily local programs, The Morning Shift and Worldview, and a growing portfolio of popular podcasts, including the "Making" series of Making Obama and Making Oprah; 16 Shots: A podcast about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald; Nerdette; and Sound Opinions. WBEZ Chicago has a legacy of innovation as the birthplace of nationally acclaimed programs such as This American Life, and Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! and the ground-breaking podcast, Serial.
Betsy Berger, WBEZ Director of Communications
312.893.8572 or 847-308-1762 (cell)
Molly Lynch, Lynch Communications Group
SOURCE WBEZ Chicago