He claimed to be incensed about the content of the Grand Theft Auto series of crime games, but federal prosecutors allege that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was himself a criminal.
Blagojevich and his closest advisor are in FBI custody today, reports CNN:
Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois.
Federal prosecutors say Blagojevich, Harris and others conspired to gain financial benefits in appointing President-elect Barack Obama's Senate replacement, according to the statement.
Blagojevich, Harris and others are also alleged to have withheld state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field. The statement says this was done to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members who were critical of Blagojevich.
The Chicago Tribune cites remarks by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald:
The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering. They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism.
GamePolitics readers will recall that it was Blagojevich who championed his state's 2005 video game sales law. The statute, however, was ruled unconstitutional before the year was out. Ultimately the failed legislation would force Illinois taxpayers to reimburse the video game industry more than a half-million dollars in legal fees.
In 2004, Blagojevich lobbied to to have ads for GTA San Andreas removed from Chicago Transit Authority buses.
GP: Naturally, we're adding Blagojevich to our list of anti-game hypocrites.
Big thanks to: GP readers Norm and BlindJustice15 for the tip!