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09/22/2010

Jesse, Jr.'s Bravado Backfires

  I've talked to literally dozens of pols during the last 24 hours and virtually every one of them is convinced that Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr's widely reported challenge to federal prosecutors to "bring it on" had something to do with the timing of Tuesday's blockbuster "Chicago Sun Times" story.

  The Sun Times scooped the world with its story alleging that political fundraiser Raghuveer Nayak told federal authorities about a October 8, 2008 meeting during which Jackson directed him (Nayak) to approach former Governor Rod Blagojevich with a campaign cash offer in exchange for Jackson's appointment to Barack Obama's soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate Senate. 

  Let's see.  The newspaper had to have confirmed this with Nayak, a subpoenaed and seemingly off-limits-to-reporters witness in the continuing case against Blagojevich or Nayak's attorney.  And you'd think that Nayak or his lawyer had some degree of "comfort" releasing the information given the fact Nayak presumably remains vulnerable to prosecution. 

  Then there's the matter of Jesse, Jr.'s "social acquaintance", Giovanna Huidobro, who attended dinner and a nightcap with the Congressman and Nayak that same day.  And there's Nayak's reported admission to the FBI that he twice purchased for Huidobro roundtrip airplane tickets from Washington, D.C. to Chicago.

  Again.  The Sun Times investigators would have to have confirmed these facts with Nayak or his lawyer, the "other woman" and/or the feds conducting the investigation.

  The FBI and the United State's Attorney's offices have strict rules governing what they can say about ongoing investigations.  Generally speaking, they are not supposed to say anything that has not already been revealed in documents made public by the courts.

  Jesse Jackson, Jr. supporters I talked to at his wife's birthday party Tuesday night are convinced the feds leaked the information, or at the very least "looked the other way" when the Nayak and Huidobro revelations were made to let the Congressman know they have the at-ready means to "bring it on".

  It reminded many of what happened to Rod Blagojevich.  

  Remember how the former governor responded on December 8, 2008 when he was asked about the federal investigation into his affairs:

  "I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me. I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me," Blagojevich said hours before he held a fateful meeting that same day with Congressman Jackson.

  The next morning, before the light of dawn, Blago was arrested and the rest is history.

   The Feds get real antsy at any suggestion that they violate their own rules or play "off-the-record" with reporters, directly or indirectly.

  But there's a growing belief among the politicians that when you challenge "the G" publicly in the Northern District of Illinois...

  ...you're asking for it.

  

  

   

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