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Joe Birkett to prosecutors: go after Patti

By Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Springfield, IL – A former political foe of Rod Blagojevich has some advice for prosecutors as they get set to retry the former governor on corruption charges - go after his wife.

Joe Birkett accused Blagojevich of corruption in 2006, when Birkett was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. At the time, he also claimed Patti Blagojevich was involved in the shady dealings.

Patti Blagojevich is accused of receiving commissions on real estate deals involving indicted developer Tony Rezko even though she did little work. The federal government investigated the charges, even subpoenaing Patti Blagojevich's work records, but never brought charges.

A federal jury last weekend convicted Rod Blagojevich of lying to federal investigators, but deadlocked on 23 more serious charges. Prosecutors plan to try him again on those counts.

Blagojevich has consistently refused a plea deal, but Birkett said putting pressure on Patti could change the former governor's

"I'm not saying they should indict her, he said. "But they should have a serious heart to heart talk with the governor and whoever his lawyers are. Connect the dots. You have the buyer and seller saying they didn't even know who she was, and she's getting tens of thousands of dollars in income from sham deals."

Rod Blagojevich told Fox News Sunday that he would be vindicated again if prosecutors retry him, and he did not rule out a return to public office afterward, saying "politics is what I know."