The 76-page affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed against Democratic governor Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois delves into considerable detail on the chief executive's dissatisfaction with a series of uncomplimentary newspaper editorials carried over several months by the Chicago Tribune.
For example, in a late October pre-election endorsement, the Tribune editorialized in favor of State Representative David Miller, wondering whether Miller, a dentist by trade, "can extract a governor," a toothsome reference to Blagojevich's impeachment.
The same outfit that maintains the Tribune also owns the National League's Chicago Cubs. The Tribune Company was exploring application for State funds to assist the financially beleaguered organization's baseball team and its home greensward, historic Wrigley Field.
Apparently not amused and fearful of potential impeachment proceedings, Blagojevich embarked on a series of profanity-laden telephone conversations dutifully intercepted by FBI agents.
In one of numerous "pay for play" allegations contained in the affidavit, Blagojevich, his lobbyist spouse, and a number of other associates appear to condition their support for assistance to the Cubs on the Tribune's jettisoning its critical editorial writers.
"Fire all those fucking people, get 'em the fuck out of there and get us some editorial support," the governor is recorded as demanding (so as not to put too fine a point on it).
According to the affidavit, Blagojevich seems to have received through his deputies oblique indications from a Tribune Company representative that the newspaper was at least to get rid of John P. McCormick, the Tribune's deputy editorial page editor.
While today's press reports are understandably more focused on Blagojevich's placement of a "for sale sign" — as the prosecutors put it — on Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat, the governor's shenanigans with the Fourth Estate are every bit as remarkable.
Those allegations begin on page 41 of the affidavit (.pdf; 78 pgs).
And the affidavit's dramatis personae.