13 September, 2009

Key Blagojevich adviser Christopher Kelly dead

Chicago Sun-Times
The man federal prosecutors pressured to cooperate in the corruption probe of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich died of an apparent aspirin overdose on Saturday, law enforcement sources said.

Christopher Kelly, 51, of Burr Ridge, was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital at 10:46 a.m. An autopsy is scheduled for today, a Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office spokeswoman said.

Kelly was Blagojevich’s “go-to guy” who once was the mastermind of the ex-governor’s lucrative campaign fund.

Kelly’s death comes just four days after he pleaded guilty to a scheme involving $8.5 million in fraud at O’Hare Airport. It was the second conviction this year -- he still faced trial along with the ex-governor, in June. Kelly had been indicted three times since 2007 but refused to become a cooperating witness. When he pleaded guilty to the O’Hare scheme Tuesday, Kelly spoke of feeling intense pressure by prosecutors to abandon his loyalty to Blagojevich and cooperate with the feds.

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