"Chris and Tony ... receive no benefit whatsoever from any kind of state work or state business," Blagojevich said. "These guys are both, in my personal experience with them, both honest people, good people."
--AP, March 5, 2006
"I have on my side the most powerful ally that exists, and that is the truth. And the truth is that we do things legally, we do things ethically, and we do things right," the governor said. "And those circumstances described in that plea agreement do not describe how we operate. And obviously -- and let me assert this as fully as I possibly can -- none of that ever happened in terms of my involvement. I never instructed anybody to do any of those things. I don't believe anybody close to me did those things."
--Mark Brown column, Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 18, 2005
Blagojevich also defended his two closest fundraisers, businessmen Christopher G. Kelly and Antoin "Tony" Rezko. He insisted that the two continued to enjoy his confidence and that he does not believe they are the associates referred to in the plea agreement.
"I have confidence that they do things right," he said. "They don't break the law or make any promises or deals or quid pro quos. Those are obvious and I don't think it takes a brain surgeon to figure out you shouldn't do those things."
--Chicago Tribune, September 17, 2005
Other requirements were that if fund-raisers Rezko and Kelly were going to play a significant part in his government, that they not do business with the state. And lastly, that "they follow every legal requirement."
--Daily Herald, Sept. 17, 2005
Blagojevich said he stood by Rezko and Kelly and had no plans to ask them about allegations in the TRS case.What about it governor -- does Chris Kelly still have your confidence?
"I'm confident that they do things right, and there's no need to even address this kind of speculation," the governor said.
--Copley, Sept. 17,2005