Blago Signs Six-Figure Book Deal

Impeached Governor plans on "exposing the dark side of politics"

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CHICAGO  — Rod Blagojevich, the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed from office by impeachment, signed a deal Monday to write a book "exposing the dark side of politics," his publicist said.

Blagojevich signed a "six-figure" deal to write a book for Phoenix Books, to be released in October, publicist Glenn Selig said in a news release.

Selig said the former governor "plans on exposing the dark side of politics that he witnessed in both the state and national level."

Blagojevich "does not intend to pull any punches and will reveal information and provide insights that will at times be embarrassing to himself as well as to others," according to Selig's release.

Blagojevich was ousted in January after his Dec. 9 arrest by federal authorities on corruption charges that include allegations he tried to sell President Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat. He denies any wrongdoing.

The former governor will write about his rise in politics, including his election to Congress and his election and re-election as governor, Selig said. The former governor also promises to detail discussions and other factors that ultimately led him — three weeks after his arrest — to name Roland Burris to the Senate seat.

Blagojevich was the first governor removed from office in Illinois history and the first in the U.S. since Arizona's Evan Mecham in 1988.

He said in a radio interview last month that he wanted to write about "the phoniness and hypocrisy" of the politicians who run state government, but he didn't allege the sort of pay-to-play crimes he is accused of committing.

"A bunch of them are cheating on their spouses, a lot of them drink in excess, very few of them know what's going on, they just take their marching orders from legislative leaders," he said.

Steven Miller, former chief of special prosecutions in the U.S. attorney's office, said that any defendant who writes a book "would be well advised to have his attorney screen the book to make sure there were no admissions that could be used against him at a trial."

Told the book was touted as containing embarrassing material, Miller noted that "being embarrassed and being incriminated are two different concepts. There can be material that is embarrassing but not incriminating."

Miller said he "would not automatically say no" if one of his own clients announced plans to write a book, adding that the upsides could include improving Blagojevich's image and raising money he might need for his defense.

Aside from the "six-figure" description, the terms of Blagojevich's book deal were not disclosed. But the former governor is facing the prospect of an expensive criminal trial after losing his $177,000-a-year job. His wife also recently was fired from a $100,000-a-year job.

Selig said Blagojevich chose Phoenix Books, run by Beverly Hills, Calif.-based independent publisher Michael Viner. Viner's previous releases include a memoir by disgraced New York Times reporter Jayson Blair; a tell-all by four Hollywood call girls; and a book by Armin Meiwes, the German man who admitted killing and eating an acquaintance.

Spokespeople for Gov. Pat Quinn, federal prosecutors and Burris declined to comment on the book Monday. Burris has come under fire after revealing he had more contact with Blagojevich allies than he originally told lawmakers and that he tried to raise money for the then-governor.

Steve Brown, spokesman for Blagojevich's chief nemesis in the Legislature, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, was dismissive of the book deal.

"I think giving the guy more attention just causes his mental health problems to flourish," Brown said.

Selig said in the release that there were "some people in high places" who tried to prevent the book deal. But he did not elaborate and his office said Monday he would not discuss the contention further.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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