Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is facing criminal charges in a public corruption case, taunted U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to show up in court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing, if he is “man enough.”
In what the Associated Press described as “an extraordinary outburst timed to go live on evening news shows,” the impeached former governor held a news conference Tuesday in front of his lawyers’ Chicago offices. Blagojevich assailed prosecutors in the Northern District of Illinois as “cowards” and “liars,” and challenged them to release full copies of FBI wiretaps of his phone conversations.
“They know when all those tapes will be played they will show I’ve done nothing wrong and will prove my innocence,” said Blagojevich, who is charged with fraud and racketeering in a political “pay to play” case.
U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel will consider motions Wednesday for a trial slated for June. ”I’ll be in court tomorrow and I hope you are man enough to be there, too,” Blagojevich told the cameras, addressing Fitzgerald.
A spokesman for the Chicago-based U.S. Attorney’s office, Randall Samborn, offered no comment, the AP reported.
Here’s a video of the news conference: