Ill. gov.'s brother: Up to 50 calls could be taped - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ill. gov.'s brother: Up to 50 calls could be taped

CHICAGO (AP) - The FBI may have recorded as many as 50 telephone conversations between impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his brother as part of the federal investigation of corruption in state government, Robert Blagojevich said Wednesday.

Robert Blagojevich, who chairs the governor's Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund, made the statement through his attorneys in papers filed in U.S. District Court in the fraud and bribery case against the governor.

Attorney Michael D. Ettinger said federal prosecutors had given him only one tape of Robert Blagojevich on the telephone, but he believed his client was recorded in "30 to 50 more conversations."

The governor is charged with plotting to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama and other offenses, including using the power of office to squeeze potential campaign contributors for money.

Prosecutors have said Robert Blagojevich is heard on wiretap recordings made by the FBI, but the governor's brother has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

The attorneys said Robert Blagojevich will not ask the court to rule out as evidence the one tape they have now. But they left the door open to make such a motion later if or when they have other tapes on which their client is heard.

Chief Judge James F. Holderman of U.S. District Court has set a hearing for Friday to decide if the Illinois Senate will get to hear four of the tapes at its trial to determine whether to remove Blagojevich from office.

The trial is due to get under way in Springfield on Monday, and House-appointed prosecutor David Ellis has asked Holderman to let him have the tapes to play for senators.

It was not clear whether the governor's defense team would file a motion to suppress the recording.            

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)      

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