Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Illinois corruption update: Blago pal and fundraiser Chris Kelly pleads guilty

Here is your early morning Illinois corruption update, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times:

On the same day Rod Blagojevich launched a media blitz to promote his new book, one of the biggest players in his ongoing criminal saga pleaded guilty in federal court and agreed to turn himself into jail by next week.

Christopher Kelly, a longtime friend, adviser and fund-raiser to the ex-governor, pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme involving contracts at O'Hare Airport and Kelly's roofing company, BCI Commercial Roofing, Inc. By doing so, he evades a trial that was scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Kelly told the judge he pleaded guilty after enduring "a great deal of pressure."

"I'm doing it knowing the ramifications of my actions," said Kelly, whose plea deal calls for a 57-month sentence following a 37-month sentence in a separate tax fraud case. Kelly will voluntarily surrender to the federal lock-up on Sept. 18. He will also pay a $450,000 in forfeiture

Blago's other major fundraiser, Antoin "Tony" Rezko, is being held in Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center. It's believed he is cooperating with authorities as they continue to investigate Illinois graft.

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