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Indicted Illinois Governor Tried to Intimidate Tribune Co.

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich this morning was arrested and charged with corruption including an allegation he conspired to sell the Senate seat vacated by president-elect Sen. Barack Obama to the highest bidder, and as they said, trying to use muscle against the Tribune Co.

According to feds, who were wiretapping the governor, Blagojevich said he would not offer state help to assist the struggling Tribune Co. sell Wrigley Field, home of the Tribune-owned Chicago Cubs, unless the media company fired members of the Tribune's editorial board who had harshly attacked the governor.

Just one day ago, on Dec. 8, Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy, though that would have likely happened regardless of the disposition of the Cubs and the ball park, which is not part of the bankruptcy petition.    

The federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald said the allegations against the governor "would make Lincoln roll over in his grave." He also noted Obama knew nothing about Blagojevich's efforts to sell or trade the Senate seat for profit.

Although Obama senior advisor said last month the President-elect had talked with the governor about the Senate seat, he sent out a statement late Tuesday saying he had been wrong. "I was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy," he said in a statement e-mailed to B&C by the Obama transition office. "They did not then or at any time discuss the subject."