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Among the other charges detailed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald were that Mr. Blagojevich, 51, and John Harris, his 46-year-old chief of staff, threatened to withhold state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field. The affidavit asserts that Mr. Blagojevich hoped the move would lead to the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members who had criticized him.

Mr. Fitzgerald said the actions and profanity-laden conversations captured by the governor on a federal wiretap would make Abraham Lincoln “roll over in his grave.”

The scheme Mr. Blagojevich reportedly discussed on the wiretaps involved several payoffs, including obtaining a high-paid nonprofit job for himself or his wife, promises of campaign fund-raising or even securing a post within the Obama administration.